Friends of Shell Island, Inc. is a tax-deductible non-profit advocacy group based in Panama City, Florida. Our mission is to protect our access to the island we love, conserve its resources, and educate the public about its beauty in order to preserve its place in our lives and in the lives of the visitors who come to Bay County to experience it.
Shell Island is a pristine barrier island off the coast of Panama City, Florida that has been treasured by Bay County residents and visitors for over 100 years as a unique getaway destination. It is the jewel of Bay County for citizens who live here, and it is one of the top attractions for visitors who come here and contribute to our economy.
The western half of Shell Island is under control of the St. Andrews State Park, within the Florida Parks System. In the middle of Shell Island, at the boaters' most popular anchoring area, is the "Spanish Ante Subdivision" with private lots (many owned by the park) and county roads throughout. Tyndall Air Force Base owns the eastern half of Shell Island and all of neighboring Crooked Island.
Why We Were Formed
Shell Island was peacefully enjoyed and protected by citizens and visitors for generations, until the summer of 2006, when the State of Florida stationed armed policemen on the island to arrest people who were unwittingly violating an array of unnecessary and unwanted Florida State Park rules. Such rules include consuming a beer or having a dog in an unauthorized area. The unfortunate actions caused a citizen uproar. Since then, we've been working with park officials who have implemented citizen-friendly policies and have expressed an openness towards working with us.
St. Andrews State Park
State Park to Update its 10-Year Management Plan
Shell Island Could be Affected
The St. Andrews State Park owns the western half of Shell Island and a portion of the residential lots in the subdivision in the center of the island. These parts of Shell Island were purchased by the park with taxpayer money for the benefit of the taxpayers. Friends of Shell Island's goal is to preserve that access. Please click here to read more about what is happening and how you can help.
Spanish Ante Subdivision
Platted in 1959, this subdivision comprises the center of the island and is made up of private lots, county roads, and individual lots owned by the State Park. Click here to understand the status and what actions you can take to preserve your access!
Tyndall Air Force Base
Tyndall Air Force Base and Shell Island: Background
While Tyndall AFB owns the eastern half of Shell Island and all of nearby Crooked Island, they have shared these uninhabited islands with area and visiting boaters (military and non-military alike) who have enjoyed their shores for generations. The only restriction that impacted boaters has been the drone launch corridor in Crooked Island Sound, which must be cleared by boaters when drone launches are active, during the day, Mondays through Fridays... Read More
Sign the Petition
Privacy Statement: Your address is required only for the purpose of establishing the validity of this petition. It will not be sold or used for purposes other than confirmation to you and presentation of this petition as part of the governmental processes regarding this issue.
Petition for Boaters’ Access to Shell Island
To: Officials of Bay County Florida, the State of Florida, Tyndall Air
Force Base, and any other regulatory authority
Sponsoring Organization: Friends of Shell Island (www.friendsofshellisland.org) Date: March 20, 2009
Whereas, boating residents and visitors have been enjoying Shell Island as a year-round recreational destination since Bay County was settled in the 1800s; and
Whereas, the most popular boating anchorage is at the center of said island, at a residential subdivision which is comprised of private and government-owned lots, overlaid by county roads; and
Whereas, this boating anchorage is treasured by the undersigned taxpayers, whose money paid for the public land for their recreational use; and
Whereas, in 2006 visitors to Shell Island experienced aggressive police attempts to enforce unnecessary and unwanted State Park rules both within and outside of land owned by the state of Florida;
The Undersigned Request:
- An official acknowledgement of the historical use of the recreational boaters’ anchorage at Shell Island;
- Preservation of the current state and use of Shell Island for recreational boaters;
- Preservation of the current management of the property consistent with the laws of unincorporated Bay County – NOT as a State Park.
- A stakeholders’ interest in any future decisions about the use of the Shell Island.
Map of Shell Island and Our Traditional Recreational Anchorage
Map of Spanish Ante Subdivision