Case Study

Discovering the river landscape by canoe – development of bivouac sites

Contact name

Elisa Igersheim

Institution name

Elbe-Brandenburg River Landscape Biosphere Reserve

Region & country

Germany, Brandenburg


Cycling along the Elbe cycle path or exploring the great river by canoe are attractive activities in the region. Bivouac sites are designated in the biosphere reserve for canoe hikers.

Bivouac site with camp fire

© Anne Keller

Background of the project

The idea to establish bivouac sites was advertised as an internship topic. A student of landscape planning worked on the topic and developed the concept.

In this context, the bivouac site in Rühstädt was created as a model project. Other possible sites have been identified.

The place in Rühstädt has long been popular not only with canoe hikers. The groyne is located on the Elbe Cycle Path and has a direct connection to the road network between Rühstädt and Gnevsdorf. In 2018, the existing weather hut was renovated and a new seating area was built.

– Need for bivouac sites for camping in nature.

– Need for fireplace

– need of bivouac sites for camping in nature
– need of fire place

Solution and actions taken

Around the hut camping for one night and making fire is tolerated. However, it is important that the forest fire warning level is nevertheless respected and that one’s own garbage is removed and disposed of in the available trash cans. The garbage can will be emptied by the municipality. The rest area is located in a nature reserve, which means that wildlife must not be disturbed and plants must not be damaged or torn down.

The place is regularly checked by our rangers, who address guests who do not follow the rules. Problems arise with caravans outside the paths and anglers who feel disturbed.


– Special permit for camping and making fire in the nature reserve
– Restoration of the hut
– Application of the bivouac site

Other institutions or parties involved

Lower nature conservation authority, tourism association, canoe clubs


The place is often used by canoe hikers, cyclists and other tourists. Locals also use the site to camp. Additional bivouac sites are to be established, and discussions are already underway.


Rubbish and missing toilet (although the permission for a compost toilet exists)

Lessons learned

It is important in protected areas to direct visitors so that sensitive areas are protected. Public relations is an important aspect here.

Contact name

Elisa Igersheim

Institution name

Elbe-Brandenburg River Landscape Biosphere Reserve


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