The Kahuna Memorial Project Steering Committee announced today that it will partner with the Estes Park Art Center in its effort to raise $150,000 to commission and build a memorial to the famous bull elk Kahuna, who died in March 2022 after a long life as one of the most remarkable elk in Rocky Mountain National Park.
“Kahuna was a magnificent moose that captured the imagination of nature lovers and photographers around the world,” said John Coombs, chairman of the Kahuna Memorial Project Steering Committee. “We want to preserve Kahuna’s legacy by dedicating a memorial that will tell her story and inspire future generations to visit and watch over her many descendants.
“We are proud of our partnership with the Kahuna Memorial Project,” said Estes Park Art Center Board Member Alice League. “When fans see the public art memorial, we want them to know he was a legendary elk while promoting education and wildlife preservation.
The project team plans to create and install the memorial in time for the peak tourist season of 2023. Tax-deductible contributions to the Kahuna Memorial Project can be made through the organization’s GoFundMe site at https:// www.gofundme.com/f/KahunaMemorial or send donations to the Kahuna Memorial Project c/o the Art Center of Estes Park at 517 Big Thompson Ave. Unit 245, Estes Park, CO.
Supporters are encouraged to follow the Kahuna the Elk of Rocky Mountain National Park Facebook and Instagram pages for updates on the Memorial Project experiences. #KahunaTheElk
Kahuna, which spent most of its time in Moraine Park during the rut, was the most photographed elk in Rocky Mountain National Park history. Kahuna – also known by the nicknames Bruno, Incredibull and Big Thirds – is believed to have been one of the largest elk in North America, with an estimated weight of one thousand pounds and one of the highest antler rankings. registered deer.
According to award-winning wildlife photographer Dawn Wilson, Kahuna’s massive antler rack had seven spikes on each side during its early years. “What was so impressive was the length, mass and extent of his antlers. In particular, he had an unusually long third tine on each side,” Wilson said.
“Kahuna sported a huge rack with long, wide main beams, but his third points made him more recognizable every year,” said Fred McClanahan, Jr., a Fort Collins photographer who has tracked the iconic momentum for more. of five years.
“His bugle was sharp and crisp, which, with his huge antlers and massive body, drew many cows into his harem during the rut while other bulls kept their distance,” McClanahan, to whom the the name Kahuna is attributed.
The Kahuna Memorial Project and its support committee grew out of social media posts initiated by John Coombs. It brought together a group of photographers, writers, artists, businesspeople and other elk lovers across the country who wanted to see Kahuna’s story come to life through a public art installation. . This all-volunteer core team will solicit proposals from sculptor artists for the commissioning of the life-size memorial and will work with the City of Estes to determine the location of the memorial. In addition to Coombs and Wilson, members of the Kahuna Memorial Project Steering Committee include Bill and Patti Brown, Elizabeth Edwards Clark, Barb Prentiss-Davis, Sherrie Fuller, Dawn Hatch, Andrea Hauger, Brad Manard, Steve Neilson, and Kimberly Youngerman.
The Estes Park Art Center, a 501c3 organization, brings practical knowledge to projects of this magnitude; most recently, in partnership with the volunteer committee that created the Estes Park Women’s Monument, which consists of twelve statues along the River Walk in downtown Estes Park that honor women leaders whose service has shaped the community. The Estes Park Art Center was established in 1987 and offers an extensive collection of artwork by local Colorado artists, including painting, photography, jewelry, ceramics, glass, fiber and woodworking, and hosts a variety of art classes and mentorship opportunities.