Track 7: Stan Matlick, retired rancher
Three generations of Matlick family have ranched in the Bishop area on land they originally homesteaded in the 1870s. Now retired, Stan Matlick is an outspoken critic of the Inyo-LA Long Term Water Agreement and remains an active, candid voice at community meetings dealing with water-related issues in the valley. According to family lore, Stan’s grandfather once forced LADWP representatives off his property by gunpoint.
Stan’s father, Edwin Matlick was instrumental in winning the Hillside Decree, a historic 1940 court order against the city of Los Angeles exempting the “Bishop Cone” area surrounding the town of Bishop from groundwater pumping for export by LADWP. Stan Matlick himself continued the fight in 1980s when the decree was challenged in court by LADWP. Matlick financed the litigation and court costs with his own money and eventually won. The Bishop Cone is the only area currently with protections in place from groundwater pumping and export within the Owens Valley.
During the initial interview Stan recalled a popular family story involving his grandfather, Allen Matlick. LADWP representatives approached his grandfather in the early 1930s inquiring whether or not he would sell his ranch. As the story goes, Al confronted the men on the front porch of his home with rifle in hand threatening to kill ’em if they didn’t get off his land immediately. A younger female cousin witnessed the entire exchange while hiding in bushes nearby. Frightened, the girl ran home telling her mother, “Grandpa has a gun and he is going to kill a bunch of men!” Al didn’t shoot them nor did he sell his ranch. The Matlicks are one of the few families in the valley who managed to keep control of their original land holdings and water rights while Los Angeles continued expanded their land, property, and water rights purchases in Inyo and Mono Counties during the early part of the last century.
Mr. Matlick passed on May 16th, 2013 in Bishop, California. Please read Sierra Wave’s obituary for him at: http://www.sierrawave.net/24836/stan-matlick-1931-2013/.