In October 2018, Hurricane Michael made landfall 15 miles north-northwest of T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park as a category 5 storm. In addition to the well-documented damage along the Florida Panhandle, the park was fundamentally altered by the storm.
Hurricane Michael severed the peninsula just one mile north of the park entrance, rendering 90% of the park, 2,470 out of 2,790 total acres, inaccessible. The majority of the park’s vital infrastructure was wholly destroyed, including the popular and perpetually booked Gulf Breeze and Shady Pines campground loops and cabins.
The natural communities and unique geographical features were reshaped by the storm and tidal forces in the Gulf of Mexico and St. Joseph Bay. The sand that once comprised the beach and 15-foot-tall dunes at the breach site were washed away and redeposited into the bay, forming a robust system of shoals. These emergent shoals quickly became an important shorebird wading and nesting site for an array of species, including the threatened snowy plover.
On Jan. 15, 2019, the Office of Park Planning held a public meeting at the Franklin Campus of Gulf Coast State College in Port St. Joe to gather public input on the future of the park. Additional comments were compiled via email and telephone.
For the most current information on available amenities and conditions, visit St. Joseph Memorial Peninsula State Park or call 850-227-1327. Remember, for your safety and to protect the park’s ecosystems, please obey all posted signage.