Heber and Overgaard, in northeastern Arizona in
Navajo County. Situated in the Sitgreaves National Forest north
of the Mogollon Rim, their elevations range from 6,435 feet in
Heber to 6,620 feet in Overgaard. Both are unincorporated. The
communities are reached by taking state Highway 87 to Payson
(north from Phoenix or south from Interstate 40), and continuing
east via state Highway 260.
During the Mormon migration in 1876 and 1877, the Little
Colorado River settlements were established. James E. Shelley and
Sanford Porter, Jr. founded Heber in 1883. Heber was named after
Heber J. Grant, a prominent member of the Mormon Church. The
post office in Heber was established in 1890 by James E. Shelley.
Overgaard, adjoining Heber, was originally called Oklahoma Flat
and was later named after the first sawmill owner. The post office in
Overgaard was established in 1938.
Economic activities are varied; retirement and tourism are an
important part of the economy. Proximity to the Sitgreaves National
Forest provides recreation opportunities, and timber is harvested for
Precision Pine Sawmill and Stone Container Paper Mill. A mulch
plant processes forest by-products. Service businesses provide
employment and services for the retirement community.
Government and schools also contribute to the local economy.
Retail trade is increasing. Construction is also a major factor in the
The Heber/Overgaard area is surrounded by many year-round recreational
opportunities and points of scenic interest. Immediately south
of Heber and Overgaard is the Mogollon Rim, a steep escarpment
ranging from 1,000 to 2,000 feet from the base to the highest
plateau. The Rim divides the northern plateau region from the lower
central and southern areas. The Rim offers many exceptional views
and numerous man-made lakes ideal for boating and other water sports.
Hunting for elk, deer, turkey, antelope and bear is permitted.
Fishing, in nearby trout streams, is popular. There are also extensive
picnic and camping facilities available within the area. Other scenic
attractions in the area include Chevelon Canyon Dam, the Canyon
Creek Fish Hatchery, Chevelon Butte, and the Fort Apache Indian
Reservation. The 200-acre Mogollon Lake three miles east of
Overgaard is in the planning stages.