Payson's Economy

The local economy is dominated by tourism and retirement industries with a growing emphasis on manufacturing and service firms. Light industry compatible with the community's high quality of life is being encouraged. Many Arizonans and visitors alike migrate to cool Payson in summer. In the winter, the community attracts many visitors wanting to enjoy the mild climate and rural atmosphere.


Among the area's major employers are the Payson Unified School District, the Mazatzal Casino, the Payson Regional Medical Center and the Town of Payson. In recent years, several manufacturing operations have located in Payson including Precision Intricast (precision orthotics device manufacturer), Pulau Electronics, Custom Aircraft (airplane assembly/repair firm) and the progressive, growth oriented HPR Ammunition Company.

Business Development

The Town of Payson and Gila County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) work actively with new and existing business to provide high quality business and employment opportunities for area residents. The IDA operates a revolving loan fund program for use by local and relocating firms requiring low-interest financing. All of Gila County is an "Enterprise Zone."

Natural Beauty

Much of the area enjoys panoramic vistas of the famed Mogollon Rim, the Mazatzal Mountains and the Granite Dells. In fact, 97% of the area is national forest, providing for nearly endless recreational opportunities including fishing, hunting, hiking, boating or just relaxing.

Central Arizona's "Rim Country" ranges in elevation from 4,500 feet in Star Valley to 6,000 feet in Strawberry. Much of the area is covered with a variety of trees including the majestic Ponderosa Pine, Pinion Pine, Juniper, Arizona Spruce, Black Jack Oak and many more.

Recreation & Culture

The area offers a number of scenic attractions. Nestled in the gently rolling hills of the majestic Mogollon Rim -- a 7,000-foot, 200-mile long escarpment -- Payson is minutes away from seven Rim lakes and countless trout streams. Local attractions include the Tonto Natural Bridge State Bridge, Shoo-Fly Indian Archeological Site, Tonto Fish Hatchery, Rim Country Museum and Zane Grey Cabin, the Pine-Strawberry Schoolhouse, Green Valley Park, Rumsey Park and the Mazatzal Hotel and Casino.


The Tonto Natural Bridge State Park and Tonto National Forest are two of the most popular attractions. At 183-feet high, 150-feet wide and 400-feet long, Tonto Natural Bridge is the world's largest known natural travertine bridge. In 1877, prospector David Gowan found the bridge while evading Apaches. Gowan later persuaded his family to leave Scotland and settle in the area, and his descendants eventually opened this natural wonder to the public. As one of the most visited national forests in the nation, Tonto National Forest covers 2.9 million acres and is one of central Arizona's premier outdoor recreation destinations. Elevations range from 1,300 feet to nearly 8,000 feet and more than 860 miles of hiking trails are available. Six reservoirs on the Salt and Verde rivers serve as watersheds and wildlife habitats while offering prime spots for tubing, rafting, fishing, and other water recreation. Picnic areas and five developed campgrounds are maintained in the forest, where the recreation season generally runs from early May to mid October.


The Rim Country Museum, located in scenic Green Valley Park, preserves the natural and cultural history of the region. Exhibits feature ancient peoples of the area, the Tonto Apache as well as the cavalry and pioneer periods. For those seeking additional excitement, the Tonto Apache Indian Tribe operates an over 40,000 square-foot casino. Live-action games include poker, keno, bingo and slots. Video keno and video poker are available as well.

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