It seemed the longest stretch of undeveloped beach on Florida’s East Coast faced the inevitable arrival of bulldozers and building cranes.

“New Smyrna in the early ’70s was marching south — condo row as we call it,” recalls Clay Henderson, an Orlando attorney who helped found a nonprofit that supports what is now Canaveral National Seashore.

“There were several plans for development. There was a proposal for a large mobile home development on the north end.”

That never happened. According to a Florida Today report, business and civic leaders fought for years to preserve this unique coastal haven that provides habitat for 310 bird species, a pristine playground for 1 million yearly visitors and a remote beach buffer for rocket launches.

Now, as Canaveral National Seashore turns 40, the park — which straddles the border of Brevard and Volusia counties — faces a litany of emerging threats: rising tides, invasive species and encroaching rockets, to name a few.

“Climate change, sea-level rise … NASA decisions have an impact on us, especially in Brevard,” Laura Henning, the park’s chief of interpretation, said of the future threats.

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