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Mount Holyoke range conservation land in Amherst to be dedicated Monday

AMHERST — A new conservation area in South Amherst will be formally dedicated in a ceremony Monday.

The Ben and Virginia Ricci Conservation Area is a 20-acre parcel at the base of the Mount Holyoke Range that was acquired earlier this year with money from the family, $353,500 from a state Local Acquisition for Natural Diversity grant, $151,500 in Community Preservation Act money appropriated by Town Meeting and the Kestrel Trust

The property, which is hayed on its flat portions and is wooded as it rises steeply up to the range, includes a scenic overlook for picnicking and bird watching.

A gravel parking area is situated along Bay Road, while connections will be made to nearby trails that border the Baby Carriage Brook.

Ben Ricci, who died in 2006, was instrumental in the closing of the Belchertown State School. Virgina Ricci, who died in December, was a teacher and photographer.

The dedication ceremony will take place at 3 p.m. at the 615 Bay Road site. To RSVP, contact Libby Lass at 259-3045 or lassl@amherstma.gov

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