Swamp’s favorite president?

“Do more good than harm.”

That’s what colleague (actually he was quite a few years older than me) told everyone at a group gathering just before he left. There was a tinge of self righteousness in what he said, but it was also about the closest you’d ever hear him admit to any regret. He was a man of action and strong opinions who loved to play Devil’s Advocate … to the chagrin of quite a few.

Had the swamp not been saved it could have been swallowed up by the Jetport instead

Funny how people leave and you never hear from them again.

But for some reason those words with me always stuck.

That brings us to President’s Day.

I’m old enough to remember when Washington’s Day and Lincoln’s Day were separate holidays. Then at some point they got combined into a single day to commemorate the Presidential office and all those that served from 1 to 44.

Diagram from a Nixon-era study that helped save the swamp from development

Perhaps the most common (and unwinnable) debate of the holiday is –

“Which President was the best,”
Or just as common, “your favorite?”

For the swamp the answer is clear:

Richard Nixon.

For most his name probably is inseparable from Watergate which – as a hydrologist – I would argue isn’t even that bad. Think about it, whenever you get people saying “water” and “gate” in a single sentence, and with conviction, that may be the only words with any inkling of a relation to the water cycle that they’ll say all day.

Big Cypress Nat’l Preserve was established in 1974

You see, Richard Nixon signed Big Cypress Nat’l Preserve into law,

Or in other words, he was the President who Saved the Swamp.

Did he do more good than harm?

It’s hard to say no if you live in the swamp.

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