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Welcome to the Grand Traverse Humanists. If you value science, reason, and compassion and believe that humans are responsible for their own destiny, you have come to the right place. We are a community for the non-religious in the Grand Traverse area, offering a forum for discussing and advancing a secular worldview based on our common humanity. Our programs include monthly speakers and discussions, film and book groups, and various volunteer and social events. All are free and open to the public. Check out Upcoming Events below, or click on the calendar. Nontheists, agnostics, atheists, freethinkers, rationalists, humanists, and more…we welcome you to join us!

Please note: MEETINGS AT THE LIBRARY ARE TEMPORARILY ON HOLD. We are meeting outside in person when possible, and on Zoom as schedules allow. Check the Upcoming Events below for details

In Memoriam:

In the last six months, four of our fellow Grand Traverse Humanists have died. We are saddened by the loss of Ed Rom, Walter Foote, Mark Gustafson, and Gordon Grimm. Let us remember them well.

Upcoming Events

  • G.T. Humanists Book Club: Freethinkers by Susan Jacoby

    Sunday, October 24, 6:00 p.m.
    Via Zoom 

    At a time when the separation of church and state is under attack as never before, Freethinkers offers a powerful defense of the secularist heritage that gave Americans the first government in the world founded not on the authority of religion but on the bedrock of human reason. In impassioned, elegant prose, celebrated author Susan Jacoby traces more than two hundred years of secularist activism, beginning with the fierce debate over the omission of God from the Constitution. Moving from nineteenth-century abolitionism and suffragism through the twentieth century’s civil liberties, civil rights, and feminist movements, Freethinkers illuminates the neglected achievements of secularists who, allied with tolerant believers, have led the battle for reform in the past and today.
    Rich with such iconic figures as Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Paine, and the once-famous Robert Green Ingersoll, Freethinkers restores to history the passionate humanists who struggled against those who would undermine the combination of secular government and religious liberty that is the glory of the American system.
    We will meet by Zoom to discuss this book on October 24 at 6 p.m. Click here to register with Zoom and receive your own unique link to join the discussion.

  • G.T. Humanists Meeting: Lower Boardman Plan

    Monday, September 13, 6:30 p.m.
    TCF Bank parking lot (former Chemical Bank), 203 S. Union St., Traverse City

    Join the Grand Traverse Humanists for a guided walking tour of the lower Boardman and learn about plans to develop a comprehensive plan for the 1.6 miles of river that meanders through downtown Traverse City.

    The Lower Boardman Leadership Team has recently developed preliminary recommendations around zoning regulations and land use, public access, capital improvements and habitat management. Once implemented, the Lower Boardman River will – for the first time – have a plan with a cohesive vision for the river corridor. The leadership team is now reaching out to the community for feedback, comments and suggestions. More information available here: https://dda.downtowntc.com/lower-boardman-river-unified…/

    The tour will be conducted by Harry Burkholder, Chief Operations Officer for the Traverse City Downtown Development Authority. Prior to working with the DDA, Harry served as executive director of the Land Information Access Association. He also serves on the boards for Paddle Antrim and the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance.

    We will meet at 6:30 p.m. in the TCF Bank parking lot (formerly Chemical Bank) on Union Street, across from the Post Office.



  • Humanists Ride on the Betsie Valley Trail

    Sunday, July 18, 11 a.m.
    Beulah Trailhead and Visitor Center (at Prospect and Crystal Ave.)

    Join the Grand Traverse Humanists as they bike on the Betsie Valley Trail from Beulah to Frankfort and back, a round trip of 20 miles on flat, mostly paved terrain (3 miles of trail is crushed aggregate, so skinny-tired road bikes may not be ideal for this trip). We’ll have lunch in Frankfort before heading back, perhaps at Stormcloud Brewing Co. Meet at 11:00 at the Beulah trailhead and visitor center, located at a renovated train depot building right in downtown Beulah, at the corner of Prospect Ave. and Crystal Ave.



  • G.T. Humanists Meeting: Norte with Ty Schmidt

    Monday, July 12, 7 p.m.
    Norte Clubhouse at the Grand Traverse County Civic Center
    1213 W. Civic Center Dr., Traverse City

    Join the Grand Traverse Humanists for a walking and optional biking tour with Ty Schmidt of Norte! We’ll gather at Norte’s clubhouse at the Grand Traverse Civic Center (a small building near the playground at the south end of the park).

    Ty will take us on a 45 minute walking tour of the park to learn more about Norte’s work on the recently approved Civic Center master plan which features a new Bike Education Center. There will be an optional “slow roll” bike ride at 7:45 to see some of the new Safe Routes To School infrastructure being built in the surrounding neighborhoods.

    Norte’s mission is to build stronger, better connected, and more walk/bike-friendly communities by empowering the young and young at heart. Norte is raising awareness and promoting best practice infrastructure, progressive policies, and people-first design that advances complete streets, traffic calming, and more equitable access to encourage a happier, healthier and stronger community.



  • G.T. Humanists Bike Ride to Suttons Bay

    Sunday, June 13, 11 a.m.
    Darrow Park, Bay Street, Traverse City

    We’ll meet at Darrow Park to ride up the Leelanau Trail to Suttons Bay, where we’ll have lunch and then ride back to town. Those who only wish to bike one-way have the option of taking the BATA bus back.





  • G.T. Humanist Paddle on Pickerel Creek

    Saturday, June 19, 2 p.m.
    Grass Lake State Forest Campground

    Join the Grand Traverse Humanists for a paddle trip up the little-known Betsie River tributary of Pickerel Creek! This creek is a particular favorite of the trip leader, Linnaea–it’s a beautiful area and feels very remote. The launch is located at Grass Lake Campground. Details here: https://www2.dnr.state.mi.us/parksandtrails/details.aspx…

    The creek has no current to speak of, so this will be an out and back paddle. No shuttle required, as we’ll paddle out and return the same way. To paddle the full distance, at one point it will be required to get out of your boat to get over a beaver dam. Linnaea will assist anyone that needs help. Those who do not wish to go over the dam can turn around at this point and could also explore the nearby Grass Lake.

    A few pointers and safety tips are always good to keep in mind:
    *Bring water, a change of clothes in a dry sack, sunscreen, a snack or sack lunch, and appropriate, securely fastened footwear that you don’t mind getting wet. Flip flops not recommended, and bare feet are unacceptable.
    *Bring your PFD/flotation device. Even if you don’t wear it, you’ll need to have one with you.
    *Children and dogs are welcome, but must be controlled. There is a lot of wildlife on this waterway, and we don’t want to disturb it any more than necessary!
    *Don’t forget your paddle (and kayak/canoe)!
    *MOST IMPORTANTLY: THERE’S NOWHERE TO STOP ON THIS RIVER! Therefore there is nowhere to get out and go to the bathroom! Plan accordingly. There is an outhouse at the launch site.
    We’ll meet at the launch site at 2 PM. The launch is at the far east end of the campground.

    Email Linnaea at lmelcarek@gmail.com to RSVP.