True North Wilderness Program has ceased its efforts to obtain permits to operate on a 650-acre parcel of land in Fayston.

True North was seeking state permits and had under appeal a local permit to operate its wilderness therapy program on the 650-acre Lathrop parcel. The parcel is under two conservation/recreation easements and citizens of Fayston as well as abutters had raised issues about the environmental impact of True North’s year-round camping on the land as well as concerns about the recreation/conservation easement and how True North’s activities might impact public use of the land.

In letters dated June 28, attorneys for True North requested that the Vermont Environmental Court dismiss its appeal of a conditional use permit from the Fayston Development Review Board as well as its appeal of its state of Vermont wastewater permit.

Both permits had been appealed by True North as well as the Fayston Citizens Group and individual abutters to the Lathrop parcel.

In a separate letter, True North withdrew its Act 250 application for the project –which had been pending since late last summer and which was in a holding pattern until the wastewater permit appeal was resolved.

No reasons were given for the change of plans and True North could not be reached for comment.

True North had sought permits for 12 permanent campsites, each with two yurts and a composting toilet. The 650-acre Lathrop parcel was also slated for some permanent buildings associated with the school. Students would be on the Fayston parcel (42 students and 14 counselors) 365 days a year, camping throughout the parcel and at the permanent campsites during the winter. 

The Fayston Development Review Board conditional use permit included restrictions on where the permanent campsites could be located as well as other conditions and was under appeal.

Act 250 hearings concluded last year and no decision had been reached.

True North has offices in Waitsfield and operates its wilderness therapy program on private land off Dana Hill in Waitsfield as well as the Howe Block of the Camel’s Hump State Forest in Waitsfield. Permits for its operations in Waitsfield are also under appeal at the Vermont Environmental Court.  True North also uses other state lands in Central Vermont.