Salmon River Estuary - Pixieland & Fraser Creek

Restoration Projects » Salmon River Estuary

An abandoned amusement park restored to a tidal marsh


photo of pixieland entrance from 1969-74

In 1969 an amusement park called Pixieland was developed on 57 acres near the junction of Highways 101 and 18 by Lincoln City. By 1974, five short years later, Pixieland was bankrupt. To develop the site, the entire area was surrounded by a dike. The dike also served as the railroad bed for a small train known as Little Toot. Fraser Creek was routed into a ditch between the highways and the dike. Prior to the construction of Pixieland, Fraser Creek had been routed into a ditch along Highway 101. The developers of Pixieland extended the ditch upstream to the stream crossing under Highway 18. A tide gate was installed at the mouth of the Fraser Creek ditch and it was surrounded by a massive concrete structure and foundation. Fill material was added to the marsh to create a building surface. Shallow interior ponds and ditches were dug as part of the landscaping and to provide water rides.

Pixieland contained several buildings, roads, parking lots, a sewage treatment plant and a roller coaster ride called The Log Flume. An RV park was built to the east of Pixieland. The RV park stayed in business until 1981.

In 1981, the Forest Service purchased the Pixieland and RV park properties as directed by the Cascade Head Scenic-Research Area Act. The buildings were torn down, leaving behind the concrete foundations, paved roads, parking lots, ditches, dikes and tide gate. The only remaining building was a small shed, which housed the electric motor and mechanisms for the tide gate. Blackberries, scotch broom and reed canary grass had claimed the site.

Restoration Work Accomplished at Pixieland

Restoration of the Pixieland property and former RV Park provided approximately 57 acres of restored wetland to the Lower Salmon River Estuary system. Reconnection of Fraser Creek to the meandering channel across the highway dike provided significant additional habitat for coho and Chinook salmon.

The main focus of the work done in 2007 was to clear away invasive plants and remove infrastructure. This included removing all the building and ride foundations, plus removing 4,000 cubic yards of asphalt roads and parking lots. The work to restore Pixieland to a tidal marsh was so extensive it took over two summer work seasons. A large part of the earthwork was done in 2010 when the interior of the site was the primary focus. Fill was removed from the marsh surface and pushed back into the interior ponds and ditches, which had been excavated to accommodate amusement park rides. In total, over 27,000 cubic yards of fill was rearranged.

aerial view of Pixieland area showing the canals, ponds and ditches planned to be filled; dikes; new meandering channel for Fraser Creek (yet to be built)

Blue: canals, ponds an ditches to be filled in.
Yellow: dike
Red: new meandering channel for Fraser Creek

The second phase of the earth work was done in 2011. Its focus was on restoring the hydrology of the area. The dikes and ditches along Highways 18 and 101 were removed and new stream channels were dug for Fraser Creek through the wetland portion of the site. The 2,000 linear feet of dike, which surrounded the amusement park and kept the tide out, were removed and 2,300 linear feet of ditches were filled to restore tidal marsh land. Fraser Creek had been heavily impacted by the amusement park development and the building of U.S. Highway 101. While constraints dictated where and how Fraser Creek was built, much thought and numerous iterations were considered before the job was completed. We constructed a 2,400 linear foot tidal channel and removed the last tide gate.

Pixieland in 1969-74

photo of the Darigold Barn Fountain in 1969-74

In the late 1980's, the Forest Service acquired the land where Pixieland amusement park was located. Blackberry, English Ivy and Scotch Broom hid the building footings and altered hydrology when the work began in the summer of 2007.

Pixieland in 1972

aerial view of pixieland area from 1972 showing the location of the flume ride, kiddie train, whale ride, RV parking and parking lot

The restoration project involved removal of asphalt and concrete building footings and amusement park infrastructure (summer 2007), ditch filling, restoring native vegetation on both the upland and wetland portions of the site, Fraser Creek reconnection and dike removal.

oblique aerial view of fraser creek area showing proximity to Highway 101 and a natural marsh

Fraser Creek was rerouted when Highway 101 was built in 1961 and sent into Salmon River on the east side of the highway instead of moving through it’s natural channel and into the Salmon River on the west side of the highway. The remnant Fraser Creek channel remains but has been cut off by the highway.

Log Flume Ride Before & After

photo of log flume ride

photo showing log flume ride supports during demolition

Parking Lot Asphalt Removal Before & After

photo of asphalt parking lot at pixieland before removal started photo of beginning of asphalt removal. Asphalt was crushed and recycled by Lincoln county
Asphalt was ground up and recycled by
Lincoln County
photo showing heavy equipment pulling up asphalt photo of asphalt being removed with vegetation around