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.
Over half of Shell Island is under the control of St. Andrews State Park, within the Florida State Parks System.
Shell Island Belongs to the People
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.
- Conserve the nature of Shell Island through education and on-site activities.
- Obtain an active voice in the management of the Spanish Ante Subdivision in the center of the island.
- Obtain an active voice in the management of any areas of Shell Island that must fall under the State Park rule system.
- Obtain an active voice in the management of the sections of Shell Island owned by Tyndall Air Force Base and the US Coast Guard.
St. Andrews State Park
The State Park owns the western half of Shell Island. Park regulations can affect your historically established enjoyment of Shell Island. Click here to understand the status and what actions you can take to preserve your access!
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 owns the eastern half of Shell Island. Tyndall regulations can affect your historically established enjoyment of Shell Island. Click here to understand the status and what actions you can take to preserve your access!
Join Friends of Shell Island!
Become a Member of Friends of Shell Island! You will receive valuable information about what is happening at Shell Island and what our organization is doing. Please join and help make a difference, securing access to our treasured island.
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.