Good things come to those who wait. After five years of on-again, off-again discussions, POST has partnered with Santa Clara Valley Habitat Agency (VHA) and Santa Clara County Parks (SCCP) to purchase and protect Mount Madonna North Reserve, a 735-acre portion of what is currently known as Bates Ranch. This gorgeous sprawling property sits at the base of Mount Madonna in the southern Santa Cruz Mountains. POST’s contribution of $2.2 million helped make it possible for VHA to take ownership of and care for this land.

There is a vineyard on the property, and if you’re a wine fan, you may be familiar with the tasty output of Bates Ranch Vineyard. Located in Gilroy, it supplies its renowned cabernet grapes to select regional winemakers. As part of this complex transaction, the vineyard and residential portion of the property will remain with one member of the Bates family.


Map of Mount Madonna North Reserve
Click to zoom.

This newly protected land boasts hundreds of acres of rolling oak woodland and chaparral hillsides that have been lightly grazed by cattle and entirely undeveloped. It provides habitat for our local wildlife, such as birds, steelhead trout, various amphibians, western monarchs, bobcats, deer, coyotes and mountain lions. These animals live in and move through the entire region to find food, water, shelter and mates.

This is definitely a case where the total is far greater than the sum of its parts. By protecting Mount Madonna North Reserve, POST and our partners have secured a key piece in the landscape puzzle. The scenic property connects habitat from Morgan Hill all the way down to Corralitos in Santa Cruz County.

To the south, the reserve borders the 4,605-acre Mount Madonna County Park.  To the north, it connects to the VHA-owned 347-acre Uvas South property that POST helped  protect in early 2020. Uvas South is adjacent to Uvas Reservoir County Park, linking with another 1,017 acres to the northeast. With the addition of Mount Madonna North Reserve, there is now a connected swath of protected land — more than 6,700 acres — for wildlife movement and habitat!


While VHA now owns and is caring for the property for the foreseeable future, SCCP is working to secure trail easements and work out long-term management goals with VHA.  Eventually, SCCP and VHA plan to manage the property in partnership as part of the vision of a linked Habitat Reserve and County Parks System. POST’s support of this partnership results in the perpetual benefits of protected habitat, wildlife movement corridors, a working vineyard, and SCCP’s future establishment of trail connections between Mount Madonna and Uvas Reservoir for hikers, bikers and equestrians.


POST’s significant financial contribution to VHA’s purchase would not have been possible without the continued generous support of our donors. Additional funding for this success story also came from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, California Wildlife Conservation Board and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Together, we raised $7.075 million to purchase this incredible property.

Conservation organizations depend on one another and collaborate on projects like these that have meaningful impact. The protection of Mount Madonna North Reserve is just one example of how the relationships POST and our partners have built together over the years allow us to get further — faster — toward our shared vision.

About Post

Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) protects open space on the Peninsula and in the South Bay for the benefit of all. Since its founding in 1977, POST has been responsible for saving more than 87,000 acres as permanently protected land in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. Learn more

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