A man prepared to defend in court his claim of ownership of a tiny island off the coast of North Carolina remains undeterred despite said island having, by all appearances, ceased to exist, the Charlotte Observer reports. "My land will always be there," says Ken Barlow of Virginia, adding, "I will NEVER relinquish what I own to the National Park Service. I will defend that property with the necessary force to repel invaders." According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Shelly Island—so named for the thousands of shells found by tourists who visited it—formed off Cape Hatteras National Seashore in spring 2017 and grew to a mile long and 450 feet wide. Barlow paid $26 and filed a Quit Claim Deed for Shelly Island in August, mostly to keep it out of the hands of the "incompetent" National Park Service, which he's mad at for restricting seashore access to protect wildlife.
Barlow's claim was immediately contested. North Carolina law states ownership of any island in navigable waters "shall vest in the state." Barlow says he disagrees with that law. "I own it. It is clear. The story is over," Barlow told WAVY in September. It may be a moot point. Later that month, multiple hurricanes battered Shelly Island, sinking it below the water. The disappearance of Shelly Island was confirmed by NASA satellite photos and announced by Barlow's hated National Park Service on Tuesday. Barlow says at least part of his Shelly Island merged with nearby Cape Point. But even if that's true, WNCN reports Cape Point is under federal control, and officials say that means whatever is left of Shelly Island is owned by, you guessed it, the National Park Service. (A tech CEO has claimed uninhabited land between Egypt and Sudan for himself.)