Nederland suddenly the place for transplants

In the last decade, the Rocky Mountains of Colorado have seen a disproportionate spike in the population of its small mountain communities.


Nikki’s Nook owner Cheryl Fanelli in front of the small shop offering a variety of treasures that her and her husband run in Nederland, Colo. on. April 8. Fanelli is also the founder of the Nation’s first legal cannabis club. Photo by Taelyn Livingston •

This spike has become extremely prevalent in Nederland. Once a free-spirited mountain town, Nederland is showing signs of transforming into an extension of the cities its new bourgeois inhabitants couldn’t afford.

Cheryl Fanelli, owner of Nikki’s Nook and founder of Club Ned, a local cannabis club, is one of many locals worried about the changes occurring in her small town. With good reason too, since Fanelli moved to Nederland in 1988, the town has grown by 50 percent to more than 1,500 residents.

Nederland claims there are now 5,000 residents inhabiting the areas around the town proper, located 8,230 feet above sea level.

“It’s really expensive to live down in Boulder,” Fanelli said. “So those people come up here looking for less expensive options. Those people don’t come here and buy a house because they love it. They come here and buy a house because they couldn’t afford the house down in Boulder, or in Aspen or in Vail.”

The town’s slogan, “life is better up here,” expresses the pride and admiration locals have for the town. However, residents agree that the local government could and should be doing more to coordinate efforts to improve the impacts of gentrification. However, new HOA rules are forcing them to change their ways.

“The people that come up here with that kind of money, they seem to want to change us. They want everything clean, they want the grass cut and they want the dirty people cleaned up and moved out of town. They want us to lose our character, they want us to lose our soul. They want us to be like every other town that you see on every other post card so that they live in homogenous America,” Fanelli said.

As property value and population grows, locals hope that some of the original charm of the town will remain. Only time will tell.

Author: Carolyn Jarvis

3 Responses to "Nederland suddenly the place for transplants"

  1. Dennis Olsen  June 20, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    Ned’s population has grown by roughly 300 people since 1980, which is a glacial pace by Boulder County standards (US Census data in:,_Colorado). Sounds like an old fart that can’t deal with change. This is not news.

  2. Michael McBurnie  June 22, 2017 at 9:40 am

    Colorado is a location for “transplants” as more folks more to the state. CO has been one of the fastest growing states for a number of years. Low unemployment, great outdoor activity and access to good colleges, culture and a more laid back lifestyle.

    What I see most in folks moving to Nederland (and I include myself since my wife and I moved here 8 years ago) is there are more families and more professionals. We move hear not just because Boulder is expense but because we want to live in the mountains. True maybe Nederland was once the home of hippies and dropouts but that population is aging and newer folks have come here that love the outdoors, skiing, mountain biking, hiking, camping. Most of the folks I know outside of the transients love the town, are environmentalists, artists, entrepreneurs, parents and the changes that have happened in the town are wonderful changes that improve everyones life. Nederland is not Ward and the one thing you can count on in life is CHANGE. But the small changes to our mountain town have been good ones. We face problems from transients and squatters who start fires and bring crime but that is not the Nederland that most of us want to see.

    My wife and I love the town and look forward to many years here in the mountains.

  3. Matt Rankin  June 26, 2017 at 8:23 am

    Cheryl Fanelli is well known as the battiest lady in town; it is dissapointing that people go to her for media comment. Their weed club was a joke at best, selling pop and chips to their stoner buddies, and the club hasn’t been open for ages. They lost the building it was located in due to extreme financial irresponsibility. Their current property is a vertical trash pile, and both of them do everything within their means to undermine anyone who doesn’t want to just sit around Nederland and be dirty hippies, sucking off the system and others. This person is not a pillar of the community.


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