PROJECT NAME: Eco Camping Batak
LOCATION: Batak, Bulgaria
DATE DESIGNED/PLANNED: 2011
DESIGNER: Christo Simonow
CLIENT/DEVELOPER: Christo Simonow
MANAGED BY: Christo Simonow
CONTACT AND FURTHER INFORMATION: Christo Simonow
Context – Physical/social historical
Ecological Camping Site on a resort area near a lake built in the 50’s. Before the 50’s this land was mainly for grazing and farming rye. After this was a comunist resort with hotels and all kind odd indoor facilities, whitch collapsed after the comunist system broke down. The site is sorrounded by mountains and the nearest highest peak is 2103m above sea level. A popular legend says that Spartacus was born around this area.
Site Analysis/Description – Place/use
An alternative and ecological camping area that can accommodate over 250 visitors. The terrain was very slopy and to make it more confortable they had to make terraces and an eco-friendly drainage system for rain water that gets to the lake. The site offers services, like WiFi internet, electricity, potable water, and eco-friendly toilets and showers from April to September. High season is from early June to the end of August and in the rest of the year the accommodations is free of charge but without any services.
Project Background and History
The project was started in 2011 and was inspired by eco-campings in rocky mountains and is following a 5 years succession plan (vertical planning). The aim of the project is to preserve nature and the social mission is to develop a new generation with environmental awareness. The land was always owned by the project manager.
Design, Development and Decision-Making Process
The project manager has the intention of developing a place with low impact on nature and landscape by avoiding big structures and using natural materials to provide basic infrastructure. In the later succession will be planted fruit trees and bushes for natural fences and strawberries for the slopes of the terraces.
Role of Designer(s)
The project manager/owner is doing the design by himself and directing the workers to do what needs to be done according to the plan.
Programme Elements – what was planned/ the site functions (use, users, activity)
The basic infrastructures are built based on bio-construction and their functions are based on ecological methods, like for example an aerated bacteria based water treatment station, hot water for showers heated by a low-cost solar heater.
Maintenance and Management – long and short-term view
Low maintenance infrastructure system.
People enjoy nature in quiet atmosphere and keep coming back. The camp offers various nature sports activities and equipment like, kayaking, tracking, horse rides and bicycles.
It’s part of an existing network of camp sites considered to be the best ones in Bulgaria.
Project Significance and Impact/Lessons Learned
The site provides learning about the needs of the campers and about how to promote eco ideas.
What could have been done differently?
There was this idea of having a restaurant on site but this could compromise the quietness of the atmosphere and the spirit of camping.
Visitors are selected to avoid disturbance.
Transferable Features and Lessons
Socializing and temporary community building
People are helping each other
Natural fences, fruit trees and edible bushes, and maybe dry toilets.
Does your project offer opportunities for volunteering or internships?
Yes, volunteers from Hawai, Holland and Ireland have been here. They get service facilities, nature sports equipment and pocket money in exchange of cleaning.
Does the project welcome visitors or study tours?
Yes, many groups like scouts are coming here every year.
Can you offer accommodation to visitors or study tours (at the project or locally)?
Accommodation in tents can be provided for a limit of one day free of charge and payed in the following days.
Feedback from EPT participants:
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED
WHAT WOULD YOU IMPROVE