City of Payson

Provides Solution to Opening Tonto Natural Bridge State Park for Critical Weekends this Summer



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(Phoenix, AZ - May 5, 2009) - Tonto Natural Bridge State Park will be open for Memorial Day weekend (May 22-25, 2009) and for the next five weekends through the end of June. The park will be open for its regular hours from 8 am to 7 pm.

The solution to part of the State Parks budget problems for keeping Tonto open on these key weekends came when Payson Mayor Ken Evans announced that the "Town of Payson and other Community Partners agreed to provide funding for the necessary seasonal staff for the four-day Memorial Day weekend and the other two-day weekends in May and June."

"We needed to increase the park staff by two people each day to cover those weekends," said Chief of Operations Janet Hawks. "Our seasonal staff rate of $11 per hour is what will be charged to the City of Payson. The two seasonal rangers will be added into the system in the other parks which will allow me to release regular park staff to return to Tonto for those weekends. We will also have our regular volunteers and hopefully some new volunteers to help out this summer," said Hawks.

The awarded contractor and project manager must agree that it is safe to enter the park near the lodge. The contractor shall decide how the area will be protected during construction. "We will endeavor to keep the park open each of these weekends even during this construction," said Acting Director Jay Ream.

For more information about Arizona State Parks call (602) 542-4174 (outside of the Phoenix metro area call toll-free 800-285-3703) or visit azstateparks.com.

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