Now a popular spot for fishing and kayaking, the Haulover Canal, has long been a strategic site. Even before the present canal was dug in 1888, this spot was of great significance to the native peoples of the area. The narrowness of the spit of land here linking Merritt Island with the mainland was long a favored place to “haul over” their canoes from one body of water to the other. The first Spanish explorers also transported their small boats here from the Atlantic to the wide Indian River to visit the many native villages and seasonal camps that lay along its banks. The U.S. Army established Fort Ann nearby in 1837 during the 2nd Seminole War (1835-1842) to protect the portage from its use by Native Americans to carry out raids against early American settlers. The canal and its vicinity remain a popular local fishing spot and convenient place to observe dolphins and manatees. It is also a convenient launch to access the Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail.