Welcome to the Friends of the Grand Traverse Islands' website! Here you will find information on our efforts to promote awareness and appreciation of the Grand Traverse Islands and their surrounding landscapes, as well as detailed information on our Grand Traverse Islands National Park Campaign.
Our mission is to promote, preserve, and protect the natural and cultural resources of the Grand Traverse Islands in Wisconsin and Michigan for the inspiration, recreation, and education of this and future generations.
It is our belief that this would be best achieved through the establishment of a National Park, administered by the National Park Service.
Make a Donation!
Each and every dollar you send goes a long way towards helping us accomplish our mission and donations are tax-deductible.
The Grand Traverse Islands Fund is a fund of the Door County Community Foundation, Inc.
About the Islands
The Grand Traverse Islands lie in the northern reaches of the Great Lakes, bridging the gap between Door County, Wisconsin, and Upper Michigan's Garden Peninsula. Marking the dangerous maritime divide between the warmer, shallower waters of Green Bay and the colder, deeper waters of Lake Michigan, they are a richly biodiverse, historically significant, and largely undeveloped wilderness archipelago. Rare wildflowers and orchids found almost nowhere else on earth call them home. Songbirds, bats, and butterflies return to them each and every summer. Lake fish spawn in their shallows by the thousands. And monuments to our maritime history command their shores. Part of the vast Niagara Escarpment, stretching all the way to Niagara Falls, these islands consist of dolomitic limestone rock formed over 420 million years ago from the compressed sediments of a shallow, tropical sea. Given their name by early French Voyageurs paddling from one peninsula to the other---and encompassing five nineteenth-century lighthouses, a former US Life Saving Service station, numerous shipwrecks, Native American archaeological sites, and the Great Estate of Chester Thordarson (the inventor of the first million-volt transformer)---they also represent an important piece of our collective maritime and cultural heritage.