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Editorial: Vermillion has great value for Farmington

It's easy to overlook the Vermillion River and the potential it has to serve as a resource for Farmington, but that would be a mistake.

As natural resources go the Vermillion is hardly imposing. It's not as wide or as powerful as the Mississippi. It's scenic in its way, but much of its length is hidden within private property. It runs through farm fields and parks, not breathtaking valleys.

Still, the river has one remarkably valuable asset that it's hard to find anywhere else in the greater Twin Cities area: trout. Big ones. And lots of them.

This isn't the first time someone has touted the Vermillion's rare status as a trout stream -- capable of producing trophy-size fish -- in a major metropolitan area. But an event like Saturday's trout fishing opener really helps drive that fact home. Rambling River Park, one of the places where anybody can have access to the river, was a popular place Saturday. There were people fishing by themselves and with their families. There were anglers and fly fishermen of all ages. Most important, there were people who came out of town for the chance to fish here. We spoke to one family that came from St. Louis Park to fish in Farmington. It's a fairly long drive, but it's a lot shorter than it would be to get to just about any other trout stream of comparable quality.

The presence of trout in the river is a positive, but it is not without its burdens. Keeping the fish in the Vermillion and keeping them healthy will mean taking steps to keep the river's water cold and clean. There are several efforts already in the works to accomplish that, and assuming the housing market picks up again those efforts will become increasingly important.

Farmington can also do more to get the word out about the river. Rambling River has long been part of the city's identity, but it's important to spread the word beyond Farmington's borders.

Business owners have debated for years about how to bring people to Farmington, and the Vermillion can be a valuable tool in that effort.