Welcome to Merritt Island
In 1958, in the aftermath of WWII, the US government selected the east coast of Florida as the base of its newly formed National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). From here new-age captains would launch rockets, telescopes and shuttles into the orbiting circle of the Earth to discover new worlds and galaxies. Thousands of acres of scrubland were commandeered at the northern end of Merritt Island; a third of it was cleared to form the new NASA base, while the remainder was given over to the US Fish and Wildlife Service to operate as the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and the Canaveral National Seashore. The refuge and seashore provide the military with a secure and impenetrable buffer zone while also offering some 500 species of wildlife a pristine coastal habitat of saltwater marshes, hardwood hammocks, pine flatwoods and scrub.