The City of Boulder is a community of people active in progressive environmental, political and social issues. Located in Boulder County, Colorado, the city is ranked as the 11th most populated city in Colorado with a population of approximately 92,000 (US Census 2005). Boulder is the home of the University of Colorado at Boulder, the largest university in Colorado, and Naropa University, the only accredited Buddhist-inspired university in the United States. Boulder's elevation is 5,430 feet (1,655 meters) and it is 25 miles (40 km) northwest of Denver.
Pre-European arrival, the area was populated by several indigenous nations to include the Southern Arapaho, Utes, Cheyennes, Comanches, Lakota, Nakota and Dakota. The first non-indigenous people to arrive in 1858 were gold prospectors and fur trappers. Boulder was part of the Nebraska Territory, known as Boulder City after incorporation in 1860. The former boundary between then Nebraska and Kansas is the present-day Baseline Road. Colorado was granted statehood and the University of Colorado at Boulder was established in 1876. Colorado's expansion was fueled by mining operations for gold, silver and coal, but declined dramatically in the 1940's during a citizen-run campaign to recruit clean industry. Boulder is home to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (home of the atomic clock), the National Center for Atmospheric Research and many non-governmental agencies and nonprofit organizations.
The Congress of the United States approved the allocation of 1,800 acres for preservation of open space around Boulder beginning with 7.3 km² of mountain backdrop/watershed extending from South Boulder Creek to Sunshine Canyon in 1899. Boulder city voters approved the "Blue Line" city-charter amendment in 1959 which restricted city water service to altitudes below 5750 feet, in an effort to protect the mountain backdrop from development. Citizens have continued that trend with a dedicated sales tax allocated to acquire open space to contain urban sprawl (1967), limiting height of city buildings (1972), passed the Historic-Preservation Code (1974), residential-growth management ordinance (The Danish Plan, 1976) and created an Urban Wildlife Management Plan that monitors and manages parks (wetlands, lakes, etc) to include closing areas to conserve and restore ecosystems.
With 31,000 acres of recreational open space and nature preserves, Boulder is a wonderland for outdoor sport enthusiasts. Biking, hiking and rock climbing is immensely popular with residents and tourists alike. Eldorado Canyon provides world-class rock climbing near the small unincorporated community of Eldorado Springs, six miles south of Boulder and routes of varying difficulty on the Flatirons themselves. Boulder is the home of great shopping, dining and festivals and gatherings of every flavor. The Colorado Chautauqua has presented programs every summer since 1898 including lectures, music, cinema, adult education classes, and nondenominational sermons. Boulder has hosted a 10-km road run, the “Bolder Boulder,” on Memorial Day, every year since 1979. Every year to mark the beginning of Spring, local radio station KBCO sponsors Kinetics, a race across land and water by human-powered vehicles timed on speed and judged for style. Other events include The Colorado Shakespeare Festival, The Annual Conference on World Affairs, and the University of Colorado, Museum of Natural History, located on the CU Campus round out the major cultural and civil events in the area.