See Rock City

See Rock City

Sunday, May 17, 2009

St. George Island, FL



St. George Island is a part of Franklin County, Florida and is an island in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

St. George Island, Florida.

Physical characteristics

St. George is a barrier island, 45 kilometres (28 mi) long and 3.2 kilometres (2.0 mi) wide at its widest point. St. George Island is adjacent to Cape St. George Island. The island is separated from the mainland by a four-mile (6 km) long bridge across Apalachicola Bay, connecting to Eastpoint, Florida. Nearby towns include Eastpoint, Carrabelle and Apalachicola. Though small, St. George Island is unofficially divided into three parts: a State Park, a public strip of restaurants, bars, small businesses, homes and public beach, and a private and gated, highly exclusive housing community complete with its own airstrip. It is in this community that some of the most expensive multi-million dollar beach homes on the Gulf exist. The island is (vacation) home to celebrities including Walter T.S. Widener, Jimmy Buffett, and Hank Williams Jr. and is known to be frequented by celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, Kid Rock, and adult film stars Jason DeWeese and "Buddy" Morrison.

The island is known for being quiet and tranquil due to its small size, while also maintaining a 'local' small town feel all the while housing some of the country's richest homeowners. Many occupents of the island rent out their homes during certain portions of the spring and summer months due to extremely high taxes and homeowning fees. Ironically, these high taxes do not result in meaningful services from Franklin County government. As of 2008, the island has no central sewage system and receives very little funding for road and infrastructure improvements, leading some to believe the island should form its own special taxing district. Saint George Island is said to be one of the most expensive islands on the Gulf to rent or own, and many purchase land on the island as an investment. A typical plot of land can range from $300,000.00 to $10,000,000.

St. George Island State Park occupies the eastern nine miles (14 km) of the island. The park has a series of hiking trails, boardwalks and observation platforms. Bird watching is a popular activity there.

Travel to and from the island is a pleasant adventure. U.S. Route 98 is world renowned for its scenic coastal beauty and local charm. Regional airports are just two hours away; Tallahassee to the north and Panama City to the west. The area is well known for its excellent variety of Apalachicola Bay and Gulf of Mexico fish and seafood including oysters, scallops, grouper, flounder, redfish, snapper, trout, mullet and others.

History

St. George Island was first inhabited by the Creek Indians between the 900s and 1400s, who were all killed off by the black plague in 1392. With the arrival of European colonists to the area in the late 1700s came an intense struggle for control. In 1803, the Creek Indians ceded a large tract of land, which included St. George Island, to trader John Forbes and Company, known as the Forbes Grant.

During the early and mid-1900s the island's pine forest was used for turpentine production in naval stores.

During World War II, St. George Island was a practice range for B-24 bombers from nearby Apalachicola.

In 1954, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers constructed the ship channel known as Bob Sikes Cut across St. George Island creating Cape St. George Island or "Little St. George Island" and enhanced its remoteness. The cut is used by the fishing fleet from Apalachicola and provides an access to the Gulf waters from the bayside.

Geography

The island is composed of mostly sand dunes with sea oats and pine trees. The west end of the island is known as the St George Plantation. Its over 1,200 acres (4.9 km2) with 24/7 security and accessible only to owners and their rental designees. It is quite a bit wider than the eastern portion of the island.

Vegetation

Sea Oats

Scrub and sea oats can be found on the newer dunes, Slash pine flatwoods in the older relic dunes. The western part of the island is more forested while the eastern two-thirds is more sparse in trees.

Slash Pine