Jake Swartwood with AZGFD award contributed

Mogollon Sporting Association President Jake Swartwood with the Arizona Game and Fish Department Commission Commendation of Achievement presented to the MSA during a meeting at Payson’s Quality Inn on Dec. 4.

The Mogollon Sporting Association may not get enough credit for its role helping Rim Country wildlife, youth and the environment.

But the Arizona Game and Fish Commission made sure to honor the nonprofit organization that’s funneled nearly $2.25 million to projects designed to enhance wildlife, the environment and education by supporting youth, quality game management and local businesses.

The AZGFD Commission presented the MSA with a Commission Commendation of Achievement during a meeting at Payson’s Quality Inn on Dec. 4.

MSA President Jake Swartwood accepted the award.

“Since the Mogollon Sporting Association was founded in 1993 it has been doing great things for Rim Country’s wildlife and youth,” read the commendation.

“The (MSA) is led by a group of volunteers with a passion for wildlife and kids.”

Among the achievements the commission mentioned in the commendation included:

Last year’s work with the AZGFD’s Payson wildlife managers to devise a list of items and purchasing items to round out the necessary equipment to put on youth conservation events in the Payson area, including canopies, picnic tables and a 17-foot enclosed cargo trailer to house that equipment, which was all donated to the AZGFD.

MSA’s work with wildlife managers and local landowners in identifying projects that benefit both the ranching community and wildlife.

Assisting the AZGFD’s landowner partners in funding projects that may not be funded through other avenues. The MSA used their donated funding as a match for a grant from Arizona Sportsman for Wildlife Conservation helping a local rancher with $25,000 worth of water improvement including converting a well to solar.

Donation of $25,000 to help launch the Canyon Creek Hatchery Gila trout brood program.

Instrumental role in providing funding for Mogollon stream habitat renovations in Haigler and Canyon Creek.

Introduction of Florida strain largemouth bass into Roosevelt Lake.

The commendation concluded:

“For your partnership, stewardship and unwavering commitment to conservation and community, the Arizona Game and Fish Commission is honored to present this Commendation of Achievement to the Mogollon Sporting Association.”

Swartwood said it’s the generous individuals and businesses in Rim Country who make it possible.

“I just want to give a huge thanks to the community for such amazing support over the years,” Swartwood said. “Without their generous contributions none of our projects would be possible.”

Contact the reporter at kmorris@payson.com

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