The Long Lake township area was initially settled in 1862 when Ira Chase and his brother-in-law Eliphalet Fillmore traveled from Whitewater township to Grand Traverse County to select land. The next few years saw the gradual influx of families who cleared forested areas to establish farms. An annual cycle of farming in the summer, logging in the winter, and maple sugaring in the spring began. The end of the Civil War brought additional settlers and in November 1866 a group of men petitioned the Board of Supervisors of Grand Traverse County to form “Viola” township. In January 1867, Long Lake Township was formally organized.
As of the census of 2000, there were 7,648 people, 2,742 households, and 2,111 families residing in the township. The population density was 254.0 per square mile (98.1/km2). There were 3,210 housing units at an average density of 106.6 per square mile (41.2/km2). The racial makeup of the township was 97.19% White, 0.26% African American, 0.72% Native American, 0.44% Asian, 0.26% from other races, and 1.12% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.93% of the population.