Star Valley Council May Donate $5,000 To Keep Tonto Natural Bridge Open

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The Rim Country’s best-known tourist attraction could be getting more help to stay open.

Visitors to the Tonto Natural Bridge State Park plunk about $3.6 million into the economy of the Rim Country and Star Valley annually, a fact town officials are not overlooking.

At Tuesday’s Star Valley Town Council meeting, the council could vote to donate $5,000 to the park’s maintenance and operation.

The town of Payson has already contributed $17,000 and the Friends of Tonto Natural Bridge have donated $8,000 to offset the park’s operating costs.

Several weeks ago, the Arizona State Parks Board convened at the bridge and, after spending two days at the historic lodge, agreed to a million-dollar payment to buy the bridge.

This should keep the bridge open through the summer with hopes increased visitation numbers and a hike in entrance fees will keep the park open through the winter.

The bridge was at risk of closing along with several other state parks earlier this year after the Arizona Legislature made repeated cuts to park operation and maintenance funds.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the council will also consider appointing Gary Rolf to the Floodwater Commission and paying Tetra Tech an additional $4,170 for work done on the town’s sanitary master plan.

The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m., July 6, at the Lamplighter RV Park recreation room, 3933 E. Highway 260.

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