WikiProject Belgium/Bivakzones

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Bivakzones, paalcampings or aire de bivouac are designated areas where backcountry-style camping is allowed. Even though there is a national ban on camping in nature, these zones are an exception. They are small pieces of private land which are made available by their owners to camp on.

In general, these are small, quiet spots which are able to accomodate three tents which normally can only stay up to two days. A 'bivakzone' is only reachable by foot (or by bicycle). Reaching them by car or motorized means is impossible. Amenities are restricted to water and toilets, even though these can be missing as well.

All zones are listed on http://www.bivakzone.be/overzichtskaart.html. Permission to copy from that site is under negotation as of time of writing.

How to tag

An example can be found here: https://www.openstreetmap.org/way/762874436

These are the necessary, obligated tags:

Tag Description
tourism=camp_site Indicates that this is a camping area
camp_site=basic Indicates that it is legal to camp here, but that there are very little other amenities
backcountry=yes The key to indicate that this is a 'paalcamping' with little facilities. This implies no motor vehicles, but to make it explicit, motor_vehicle=no is added as well
motor_vehicle=no Access restriction indicating that motorized vehicles are not welcome

Extra tagging

Tag Description
name=* The name of this bivouac zone, if any. If there is no name, do not add just "Bivouac zone", "Paalcamping" or similar, but add noname=yes instead
description=* A small text describing the feature for data users. Not needed if everything can be expressed with other tags
note=* A note for your fellow mappers if you want to clarify anything
website=* Official website of the camping site, if any
url=* Website with more information
operator=* The owner of the spot
phone=*,
email=*
Contact information of the owner. Only add with the permission of the owner or if published.
maxstay=* How long can someone stay here? E.g. 1 night or 48 hours. The legal maxstay is 48hours, use this one if no one is given explicitly.
maxtents=* How much tents can this camping site sustain? (A tent is in general a small tent for around two, three, maybe four persons, not a boy scouting tent for twenty). The default legal limit is **3**, use this one if no value is given explicitly.
capacity=* The maximum number of allowed persons in this bivouac zone. The legal limit is 10, use 10 if no max persons is given.
fee=yes,
fee=no or
fee=donation
Whether or not you have to pay to stay here. fee=donation indicates that one can choose to donate a bit
charge=* Indicates the cost to stay, e.g. €2/night/person
reservation=*
(reservation=no,
reservation=required, ...)
Indicates wether or not staying should be asked in advance. Maybe add a small description: reservation:description=send an sms with number of tents one day before. Do not add phone numberas in this text though, use phone=*
opening_hours=* Inidicates the period when the bivouac is opened, e.g. May 15-Sep 15. Note that the opening_hours syntax should be followed in order to support all the other tools. If the camp site can only be used at night, add 17:00-09:00, indicating that one can only arrive after 5 PM and has to depart before 9 AM. You can use https://openingh.openstreetmap.de/evaluation_tool/ to check if your value is valid
image=* An url of a photo of the bivouac site, can be used in fancy visualisations. E.g. use wikimedia as file host, although the owner's website can be used too. Be careful with copyright though, check the license.
bicycle=no If the bivouac zone is not reachable/allowed for bicycles
dog=yes,
dog=no or
dog=leashed
Indicates if dogs are welcome. leashed means they are welcome but must be kept on a dog lead line
drinking_water=no
toilets=no
openfire=no
Indicates that there is no drinking water/toilets/fire opportunity

Other facilities

Other facilities should be mapped on seperate points. Especially amenity=drinking_water, amenity=toilets, leisure=picnic_table, leisure=firepit, ... are very useful to add. Bivouac zones often assume the campers take their trash with them, but if waste disposal is available, add them as well. If the bivouac zone is entered as an area, adding these facilities in the way can help to automatically pick them up in textual descriptions.

Adding paths (to indicate how to reach a location) can be useful to.

Tagging mistakes

Tag Description
impromtu=yes Impromtu=yes indicates that a spot is nice to put your tent on, if you are travelling with your jeep. This is illegal in Belgium and very contrary to the spirit of these zones

Maps and tools

See Open Camping Map for a map with all info and some validation