Increased Revenue Enables Ariz. Park Upgrades

Thanks to record visitation and previous fee increases, the Tonto Natural Bridge State Park plans to make improvements in the pedestrian bridge and viewing platform.

Arizona’s Tonto Natural Bridge State Park is on track to exceed 122,000 visits this fiscal year, Park Manager Dan Roddy told 75 people at the March Rim Country chamber breakfast on Tuesday (March 13). Those visitors bring an estimated $7 million revenue to local Rim Country businesses including hotels, restaurants, local stores and services.

The bridge remains the region’s best-known tourist attraction and visitation has more than doubled since the depth of the recession. Last year’s fires and floods; however, interrupted a steady annual increase in visitation, according to the Payson Roundup.

The park also encourages its visitors to explore the many independent trails in Rim Country and supports the Rim Country Trails initiatives. Roddy said the park plans to improve the pedestrian footbridge along Gowan Trail, first installed in 1995. The park hopes to finish the upgrade by Memorial Day weekend.

The bridge is looking for $80,000 to develop new trails and turn the old swimming pool into a park-like pond with seating areas, all ADA accessible.

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