Tonto Basin

Life quickens by the lake


Tonto Basin is a community of about 2,000 residents near Roosevelt Lake, 35 miles south of Payson on State Route 188.

The area has seen quite a few changes in the past five years, including a 700-acre land exchange with the U.S. Forest Service, which freed up land for private development; the realignment and improvement of Highway 188, which improved travel to Tonto Basin and the lake; the renovation of Roosevelt Dam, which allows Salt River Project to store more water; and the addition of state-of-the-art campgrounds and concrete launch ramps at Roosevelt Lake, which improved the lake's recreation opportunities.

Tonto Basin is a community where most people know their neighbors and the businesses they run.

The Butcher Hook on the south end of Tonto Basin is the only full-service general store in the area, selling Unocal gas and diesel, bait, lottery tickets and liquor. The Butcher Hook also features a restaurant and a new regulation-size rodeo/roping arena.

On the north end of the basin, you'll find a new post office, full-line feed store, new self-storage units, marine boat storage and repair and other services.

Tonto Basin has a full-time fire department with two fire stations one on each side of Tonto Creek and emergency response teams with state-of-the-art ambulances and 911 service.

As Tonto Basin grows, so does the demand for professional services and related business. The Tonto Basin Chamber of Commerce was formed five years ago, and each year it becomes more active in addressing the needs of Tonto Basin and central Gila County.

In the center of Tonto Basin is a new 24-unit motel and car and boat wash, a new medical/community center, new auto repair and auto parts house, an office building with four business in the complex, mobile home and lot sales, a lounge and a new subdivision.

The small community of Tonto Basin has been discovered. What was once a sleepy little stop on the way to Roosevelt Lake is becoming a retirement, recreation and business area. The chamber receives a number of inquiries each week regarding business opportunities, homes, schools, water, roads and medical services.

The school system

The Tonto Basin School is open to students in kindergarten through eighth grade. High school students are bused to Payson High School. The public library, which provides book, video and Internet services, holds special events all summer.

Throughout the year, Tonto Basin celebrates a number of special events and activities, such as a Veterans Day Parade, Bean Off, school carnival and Thursday bingo.

The community's medical center/community center, which is expected to open in the near future, will provide the community with a physician's assistant, dentist and a veterinarian, as well as room for bingo, weddings and parties.

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