Quite often, folks wonder about our field areas and express curiosity about the actual wilderness part of True North Wilderness Program. Our offices are located in the heart of Waitsfield, VT, but our program utilizes a wide variety of field areas throughout central Vermont and our young adult clients travel even more widely, exploring wild places all around New England.
The largest field area that True North has the privilege to navigate is located in The Green Mountain National Forest, which is also the largest parcel of federally owned land in Vermont. With over 400,000 acres, including 8 designated wilderness areas, the National Forest encapsulates the spine of the Green Mountains from the Massachusetts border all the way to Quebec. Vermont’s famous Long Trail, which is also known as the “footpath in the wilderness,” runs 272 miles from its Southern to Northern borders. The Long Trail shares 100 miles of trail with the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (generally referred to as the AT).
True North’s permit to operate in the Green Mountain National Forest provides our students with unbelievable personal development and outdoor classroom experiences. With more than 2,000 historic/archeological sites, 350+ bird species, 58 mammals and hundreds of native trees and plants, Vermont’s forests are a veritable ecological wonderland.
All True North students learn and abide by the minimum impact principles of Leave No Trace™ while hiking and camping on both state and national forest land. Students may also have the opportunity to participate in experiential service projects in the National Forest, helping to clear and maintain trail systems, remove invasive species, and engage in other efforts to maintain this incredible natural resource. Projects are designed to allow students to gain a deeper and richer connection to the natural world and help them understand the importance of contributing to the greater good.
Access to the Green Mountain National Forest and other wild places helps students develop a grounded sense of place while fostering respect for each other and the environment.