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About Us

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 Beach Visitors 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.

Bay County Moves Forward with Study of Opening East Pass

News Herald Article "Bay County Commission wants to Open East Pass"
RESTORE Grant Application for Study of Opening East Pass - click to open

Friends of Shell Island teams with DEP and MarineMax to protect seagrass around Shell Island

View the Press Release
View the News Herald Article

Friends of Shell Island assists Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to increase scallop populations in St. Andrew Bay

Due to Friends of Shell Island's efforts, over 10 additional volunteers will be growing scallops in the bay this summer as part of this project.

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Why We Were Formed

A Victorian-era family enjoys an outing at Panama City Beach in the early 1900's 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.

Videos of Shell Island

Shell Island Adventures in Panama City Beach, by Panama City Beach

Nightlife host Ashley Capps visits Shell Island, by Beach TV

St. Andrews State Park

Friends of Shell Island Plays Integral Part in Preventing Unwanted Government Regulation of Shell Island Visitors and Businesses

Over a two-year period, the St. Andrews State Park went through a process of updating its 10-year plan governing the management of the park, including Shell Island. Stakeholders from outside our area pushed for severe new restrictions, including a zone 400 feet into the water that would be regulated and policed. Some even called for limiting the number of boaters who could visit the island. Friends of Shell Island was a strong representative for the people's freedom throughout this process, and succeeded in defeating regulation that would have impacted your enjoyment of the island you love. Please click here to read the details, and thanks to all who gave their support!

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

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.

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Sign the Petition

Submit the petition electronically by completing the fields below.

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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 ( 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:

Map of Shell Island and Our Traditional Recreational Anchorage

Map of Shell Island and Our Traditional Recreational Anchorage

Map of Spanish Ante Subdivision

Map of Spanish Ante Subdivision

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