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Hanna Park: Public Gem

Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park is a recreational gold mine and communal landmark in Jacksonville, functioning as one of the city's most recognized and visited public parks. Metro Jacksonville explores the park with its more than 447 acres of open use.

Published January 25, 2012 in Neighborhoods      19 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


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History of Hanna Park


Entryway to the park off Mayport Road, established in 1947.

Quote
Part of what is now Hanna Park was formerly Manhattan Beach, Florida's first beach community for African-Americans during the period of segregation. Manhattan Beach was established around 1900 by blacks working on the Florida East Coast Railway. At its height the beach included amenities such as picnic pavilions, cottages, and an amusement park. It flourished until around 1940, when it was superseded as a day-trip destination by the larger American Beach in nearby Amelia Island. In the 1940s, 5 acres land for the park was donated by Winthrop Bancroft, who required that the land be named for Kathryn Abbey Hanna (November 8, 1895–1967, a Chicago, Illinois-born educator and author who had settled in Florida and served on the board of Parks and Historical Places.)

The remaining property that eventually became the expanded Hanna Park was purchased after consolidation and during the administration of Mayor Hans Tanzler in the mid-1970s. The first general purpose trail was constructed by Michael Long in 1987 as his Eagle Scout service project. Most of the land has been left in its natural, wooded state. Boardwalks were constructed over the dunes to protect vegetation.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanna_Park








About Hanna Park



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Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park is a 1.5-mile (2.4 km) public beachfront and city park in Atlantic Beach, Florida. It is located at Mayport in the Jacksonville Beaches area. It consists of 447 acres (1.81 km2) of mature coastal hammock, which is increasingly rare to find along Florida's heavily developed Atlantic coast.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanna_Park







Quote
Experience Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park with its sandy beach, freshwater lake, wooded camping sites, natural dunes and naturescapes that defy the imagination.

Visitors may enjoy the park's:

1.5 miles of pristine sandy beach
60-acre freshwater lake ideal for fishing, nature observation, kayaks, pedal boats and canoes
kids splash park open Memorial Day through Labor Day for children under 54 inches tall
camping facilities that include RV and tent camping, and rustic cabin rentals
scenic trails designed for both biking and hiking
picnic areas
facilities for cookouts, reunions, retreats or other group
activities (reservations required)

The park is also home to one of Northeast Florida's premiere surfing spots known locally as 'the poles.'

Park Hours:
8 a.m. - 8 p.m. daily, April - Oct.
8 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily, Nov. - March

Last entry allowed 30 minutes prior to park closing time.

Admission:
Early bird passes and annual passes accepted from 7 to 8 a.m.
$1 per person 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., then $3 per car (up to six people) 10 a.m. to close.
http://www.coj.net/Departments/Recreation-and-Community-Services/Recreation-and-Community-Programming/Hanna-Park.aspx








Finegan Elementary is located adjacent to the park's entrance.



Features In-Depth



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In addition to the white sand beaches on the Atlantic Ocean, the park offers:

Trails



The park has nearly 15 miles (24 km) of off-road cycling trails that range from easy to difficult. For experienced riders, trails named Grunt, Misery, and Tornado Alley offer a challenging workout. This trail wins the award for "Most Difficult Close to the Sea" and was rated four out of five stars on the Trails website.




Campground






Almost 300 campsites are nestled in the woods along winding, paved roads for tent camping or RV use, plus there are six small log "cozy cabins".




Dolphin Plaza



The park has a beachfront facility that can be rented by groups, with a view of sand dunes and surf.


Freshwater lake








View from a paddleboat



And again.



And again.

A former borrow pit for road construction in the park turned into a 40-acre (160,000 m2) freshwater lake which opened in 1978. Activities available include fishing, kayaking, paddle boating, and canoeing; lakeside picnic tables and grills are available and scenic trails surround the lake. A water playground is provided for small children.











http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanna_Park


The Poles



North Florida's premiere surfing haven, known locally as "the poles" for its nearby and literal landscape features, is a drive to the edge of the park at the Atlantic Ocean where Naval Station Mayport draws the territorial line with the rest of the beaches.

















Visiting The Park



Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park is located near the Mayport naval base on 500 Wonderwood Dr., off Mayport Rd. The main entry road stretches throughout the park, with dirt roads and trails branching off, making for distinct areas of the "superpark". It attracts almost half a million visitors a year.


Article and photos by Sarah Gojekian.







19 Comments

acme54321

January 25, 2012, 06:54:04 AM
Great article.  Hanna is a cool place.

I am an active member in the mountain biking club (SORBAJax) that is maintaining and improving the off road cycling trails at Hanna Park. You guys might want to make a few corrections to that section of the article.  These are not BMX trails, they are singletrack for off-road cycling (aka mountain bikes), big difference.  Also races have not been held at Hanna for a number of years, this event has moved to Fort Clinch.

Currently we have projects to resign the trails, correct erosion issues, an reroute some trails to make them more user friendly.

billy

January 25, 2012, 06:55:59 AM
How are the running/hiking trails?

stephenc

January 25, 2012, 08:55:25 AM
Great article. Used to frequently camp there as a kid. I used to love the slides they had on the lake. I remember there was a larger park with slides and a lifeguard on one end and a few slides on the campground side. It was a sad day when they closed them both down. Seem to remember them saying the lake was contaminated with something. 

KenFSU

January 25, 2012, 09:00:27 AM
Fantastic place.

Amongst my favorite in the city.

SarahTay

January 25, 2012, 09:27:17 AM
Great article.  Hanna is a cool place.

I am an active member in the mountain biking club (SORBAJax) that is maintaining and improving the off road cycling trails at Hanna Park. You guys might want to make a few corrections to that section of the article.  These are not BMX trails, they are singletrack for off-road cycling (aka mountain bikes), big difference.  Also races have not been held at Hanna for a number of years, this event has moved to Fort Clinch.

Currently we have projects to resign the trails, correct erosion issues, an reroute some trails to make them more user friendly.

Thank you for the corrections!

blizz01

January 25, 2012, 09:38:09 AM
Nice read.  I had no idea that there were paddleboat rentals.  Hanna Park is certainly on the short list of places to take my daughter this year.

Tacachale

January 25, 2012, 11:14:12 AM
Great article on a great place. Good work, Sarah.

Metrojacksonville should really do an article on the Jax area's black beaches. That would be a great article.

One correction - the quote (taken from Wikipedia) says the park is in Atlantic Beach - it's actually a City of Jacksonville park. I corrected that at Wikipedia.

KenFSU

January 25, 2012, 11:19:11 AM
Metrojacksonville should really do an article on the Jax area's black beaches. That would be a great article.

Really enjoyed this one:

http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2011-dec-abandoned-jacksonville-evans-rendezvous

cline

January 25, 2012, 11:32:22 AM
Great article on a great place. Good work, Sarah.

Metrojacksonville should really do an article on the Jax area's black beaches. That would be a great article.

One correction - the quote (taken from Wikipedia) says the park is in Atlantic Beach - it's actually a City of Jacksonville park. I corrected that at Wikipedia.

It is a COJ park but it is also in Atlantic Beach.

Edit:  Actually it appears to skirt the AB line so not technically in AB.  Did not know that.

Tacachale

January 25, 2012, 12:02:20 PM
^Right, it's not actually in Atlantic Beach, it's in the Jacksonville city limits.

Ernest Street

January 25, 2012, 12:16:36 PM
Hanna Park has been a wonderful host of The Northeast Florida Astronomical Society ( NEFAS)
The First Saturday of every month they set up at least a dozen Telescopes in Parking Lot #8.  Sunset to 11pm for PUBLIC viewing.
Free to campers or the $3 gate fee.

These aren't your neighbors cheap spy scopes......the Big Boys like to show off Size. some need a step ladder to get to the eyepiece. ;D

Tacachale

January 25, 2012, 12:35:41 PM
Ha, we ran into those guys while camping at Hanna in September. You never know who you'll run into around here.

jerry cornwell

January 25, 2012, 02:23:35 PM
Hanna Park has been a wonderful host of The Northeast Florida Astronomical Society ( NEFAS)
The First Saturday of every month they set up at least a dozen Telescopes in Parking Lot #8.  Sunset to 11pm for PUBLIC viewing.
Free to campers or the $3 gate fee.

These aren't your neighbors cheap spy scopes......the Big Boys like to show off Size. some need a step ladder to get to the eyepiece. ;D
Thanks, Im an amateur astronomer I will take up that offer!

fsujax

January 25, 2012, 02:24:59 PM
All the trips to Hanna Park as a kid I will never forget. that lake used to be open for swimming, too many ear infections for me to count came from that lake!

KenFSU

January 25, 2012, 02:34:44 PM
All the trips to Hanna Park as a kid I will never forget. that lake used to be open for swimming, too many ear infections for me to count came from that lake!

This story still upsets me:

http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/crime/2009-08-11/story/gator_kills_dalmatian_at_jacksonvilles_hanna_park

fsujax

January 25, 2012, 02:40:01 PM
yep. had to keep on the lookout for them as well, they were usually on the other side of the lake.

jandar

January 25, 2012, 03:51:43 PM
NEFAS varies the night they go out to Hanna Park.
Its generally the closest saturday to first quarter moon. Makes for best viewing of planets, a few deep space objects, and of course the moon.

http://nefas.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=20&Itemid=37
More information about public sessions at Hanna Park.

NEFAS Calendar:
http://nefas.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=217&Itemid=98

Mtn_Biker

January 25, 2012, 09:39:04 PM
Like Acme said above, SORBA Jax is working hard to improve the trails at Hanna Park, which are often extremely sandy and eroded.  If you're interested in helping out, please visit www.sorbajax.org for more information.  We've also been asked to make some improvements to the hiking trails as well.

nycfrance

February 11, 2012, 10:46:41 AM
I am considering moving to Jacksonville Florida- pretty general statement, but any feedback is helpful.  I do not know much about this city, except what wikipedia writes.  Please give me any information....
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