The Tonto Natural Bridge State Park is one of the many sights Pine-Strawberry residents are proud to show off to guests and first-time visitors. The popular attraction is getting a new observation deck, but it’s taking a bit of creative construction to accomplish.

Recently, Southwest Heliservices pilot Carl Squires piloted a helicopter below the Tonto Natural Bridge roughly two dozen times, delivering quarter yard buckets of concrete for footings to the crews building the observation deck. Squires picked up each load from a Payson Concrete cement truck staged in the parking lot of the park.

“The previous bridge was stressed and needed to be moved out of the 100-year flood plain,” said Megan Rose, assistant director for statewide communication for the Arizona Department of Administration (ADOA). ADOA assists agencies, like state parks, with planning and construction projects.

“The new bridge will replace the old wooden structure with new steel, a walkway, stairs as well as benches for seating and better viewing of the natural travertine arch.”

When materials like concrete and steel are needed down below the bridge, the park is closed to the public for safety concerns, said Andrew Young, assistant manager at the park. His role is to maintain safety and keep patrons of the park informed.

Otherwise during this construction period the park is still open to the pubic, but all trails that lead under the natural arch are closed until the project is complete, he said.

The $1.8 million project and is scheduled for completion in February 2021.

Buck, the Milk Ranch Point dog, sighted

A male Lab-Pyrenees mix that has been lost since October is still missing and his owners are asking hikers to not call out or chase as the dog is likely scared or skittish. Anyone seeing Buck is asked to report that sighting by text or call to 602-573-0311. Rescuers are working on creating a grid based on sightings.

Typically, dogs who’ve been out for a while will go into survival mode and run from people. If you find a domestic dog, do not immediately give it a lot of food or water.

Small doses every 30 minutes is the recommendation.

Pine library has candyThe annual sale of See’s candies has arrived and is available for sale at the Pine library between 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Curbside service is available for candy and library materials.

On Saturday, Dec. 12 at 10:30 a.m., kids of all ages are invited to the Pine library to build a gingerbread house, eat some gingerbread men and listen to a story. Bring your inner kid and build a memory with a friend.

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