Warren Town Hall

The Warren Conservation Commission is asking for approval from the town’s select board to spend up to $100,000 for the state to acquire a parcel of land that would be added to the Roxbury State Forest.



At the select board’s November 28 meeting, Waitsfield resident Wrenn Flemer said she and her siblings wanted to donate a 52-acre parcel of land on the south side of Roxbury Mountain Road, near the ridgeline and adjacent to the state forest. It’s a bit complicated though. Flemer said that her family is a partial owner of the property, and that the other owner has chosen to sell their portion.

Gannon Osbourne, the land conservation program manager at the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation, said that the state would like to accept the donated land, but that they would need funding from the conservation commission or another entity to purchase that portion – about one-eighth to one-quarter of the parcel’s $400,000 value. The state, then, could acquire the entire parcel and work to conserve it.  

Kate Wanner of the Warren Conservation Commission said that the parcel is a high priority wildlife crossing for bears and general wildlife. She pointed to the need to conserve the ridgeline as well, for aesthetic purposes in addition to wildlife needs.

Wanner said that although Warren would only be purchasing up to a quarter of the parcel’s current value, the parcel’s full value could be leveraged for federal funding to secure larger conservation projects in the future.

Flemer said that she and her family had been working out how to donate the land for some time now. “It’s kind of a tangled, long story,” she said. According to Flemer, the land was acquired by her father in the 1970s or early 1980s along with two other buyers. One of those buyers then sold his portion to the Flemer family, giving them two-thirds ownership of the overall parcel.


Flemer and her siblings have been paying the property taxes for years, at least since their mother died in 2003, following their father’s death in 1997. When the family decided it would be best to pass the parcel onto the state for conservation, they tried to track down the other partial owner. They hired an attorney and a private investigator, who found the other partial owner had died, with his wife surviving him.

Flemer said that her family is currently working with the deceased owners’ wife to establish the value of his wife’s share of the parcel. It’s complicated, she said, because those owners owe decades of unpaid property taxes on the land, and tracing a history of tax payments has been challenging.

Select board member Bob Ackland said that the town could not commit to purchasing the land just yet. “We don’t’ know the financial consequences, so it’s hard to pull the trigger on it,” he said, adding that the town would need to see a clean title first.

Wanner said that the town’s conservation commission would return to a future select board meeting once they have a finalized dollar amount for the sale of the parcel.

“It’s really prime, beautiful land,” Flemer said. “We’re thrilled beyond words at the potential participation of the conservation commission, because we’d really like to donate it, and we’d really like for it to remain unspoiled. I think that overall, especially toward the end of his life, our father really would have supported this – keeping something beautiful, and making sure it stays beautiful.”