South Bay stretches its open space

The sweeping views and majestic redwoods of Mt. Madonna County Park will soon be joined by 260 acres of previously private land adjacent to the popular South Bay recreation area.

The Peninsula Open Space Trust this week announced it had purchased the Triple Buck Ranch west of Gilroy for $2 million. The land had been privately owned and used for hunting since 1973.

Mt. Madonna crests a ridge separating Pajaro Valley to the west from Coyote Creek Valley to the east. The park was created from land owned by 19th-century ranching magnate Henry Miller, whose land once sprawled across the South Bay and Central Valley.

The newly-acquired land’s previous owner, Frank Della Maggiora, said he wanted to make sure the splendor of his land was available forever:

“I’ve seen a lot of land subdivided over the years, and I always wanted this property not to be subdivided. I thought POST would be the ideal group to work with to avoid that.”

Mt. Madonna — just 10 miles from the epicenter of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake — is known for the ruins of the Miller estate and its redwood groves. Visitors can follow its Giant Twins trail to two of the four old-growth redwoods remaining in the park.