Should we re-use amenity=bear_box, or have amenity=bear_hang and amenity=bear_wire as well?

I had a similar question to What is the best way to map a bear hang in a backcountry campground? - #4 by erutan but think it’s worth following up on and tagging into a closed support post isn’t the best place to do so. :slight_smile:

What we have now is Tag:amenity=bear_box - OpenStreetMap Wiki

In the Sierra Nevada range (California USA) it’s all bear lockers.

The Olympics (Washington USA) use wire hangs with pulleys, at least at the sites I visited.

In the Canada it seems to be mostly bear poles, with some being converted to lockers. I actually sort of preferred the poles as it was easier to store gear away from Porcupines even if they were a bit more work, but people don’t latch them and then the wires get messed up.

In terms of adding onto the wiki structure - the simplest approach would to just use amenity=bear_box for all type of food hangs.

There are people that prefer one storage type over another. Adding amenity=bear_pole and amenity=bear_wire would have more granular information and probably be easier to find for people searching for a specific one. There’s also slightly different preferences - for a locker you can just toss anything in (plastic shopping bag) for a hang or pole you want to either hang your whole pack or have a dry bag etc, and carrying a carabiner can be very handy for bear wires.

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Rather than have several closely related amenity=* values, I think I would prefer a two level setup. Something like amenity=bear_storage paired with bear_storage=box|hang|wire.

Maybe bear_storage isn’t a good choice for a value as it sounds like a place to store bears. But a top level tag indicating that bear resistant storage exists at the campsite but not indicated exactly what time would still be a good idea.


I’d suggest to create a new tag amenity=food_cache (to include other “predators” than bears :wink: )
To specify the type of cache there could be food_cache=pole/box/…


To merge the above ideas:

Have something like amenity=food_cache or amenity=food_storage (Technically it’s all scented items, not just food - which would include toothpaste, chapstick, etc).

Many places have strict limits on how long you can store food in them (24h in wilderness unless you are staying overnight in the same spot, generally a few weeks in front country trailheads but food must have your name and exit date etc) so it’s a very short term cache.

food_cache=bear_box|bear_wire|bear_pole|rodent_mesh etc

I think having bear in there makes sense, as protecting your food from bears can be different than rodents (a hard sided container vs “chain mail” mesh), but probably as a second level item denoting the type of food cache.

“I didn’t know if Bear Shield meant shields that bears used to protect themselves, or shields people used to protect themselves against bears, or were the shields themselves made out of bears?”

There There
by Tommy Orange


I also thought about cascading tagging, like:

bear_proof_storage=bear_box =bear_hang

no idea whether this should include protection against other animals or remain bear-specific

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Yeah amenity=bear_proof_storage is more accurate than amenity=food_storage (all scented items vs food).

I think it makes sense to generalize it at the amenity tag, then have different levels below that. I don’t know if say Australia has bears, but they certainly have creatures that can get into food. It could be handy to just have some icon for “oh hey stick your stuff here so it doesn’t get eaten” and then there can be further details.

The Grand Canyon gives backpackers chain mail bags, the Sierra Nevada lets people rent hard sided bear cans etc (not fixed storage obviously just an example of how solutions vary).

amenity=animal_proof_storage perhaps?



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Only drop-bears! :grinning:

Yep, possums in particular, but it’s usually sufficient just to leave food inside the tent or in any closed container, as they can’t physically rip it open like bears can.

On bears though, family who have visited US & Canada have commented on household rubbish bins being secured inside “pillboxes” to keep bears away. Would they be covered under this scheme?

The trash cans at US Forest Service areas that have a bear problem are designed to be bear proof. I don’t think that anyone would be tempted to store their food in them. I would be inclined to exclude them from this as they are not used for storage of an individual’s or group’s scented articles and food.

There could be another discussion types of trash bins. And there is some lore there too as they are difficult to design the reason being “there is considerable overlap between the intelligence of the smartest bears and the dumbest tourists” (attributed to a Yosemite National Park ranger).

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I agree with N76 on this.

In areas with heavy bear presence nearly all trash cans & dumpsters are bear proof.

Here’s some examples from the internet:

If someone tries to store something in them it would be unlikely to be there after the garbage is collected.

The pillbox / walls surrounding dumpsters could be its own thing. Enclosures for dumpsters also exist in commercial parking lots where they don’t want people “dumpster diving” and/or throwing their own garbage in there.

Ah yeah, I remember some Possum creeping up to me in NZ. I went over a pass a little late due to rain and ended up cowboy camping on the side of a non-widely used trail and one of them came up to my sad little camp. I forget what I ended up doing with my food, but I had a hard time falling asleep after that heh.

Getting back on topic, most places have multiple bear lockers. Instead of having multiple amenity nodes, would it make sense to just have that be another level?

Popular trailheads can have a line of over a dozen bear lockers along the parking lot. There’s normally one or two per backcountry camp in SEKI iirc. Backpacker’s camp at Vogelsang High Camp has four sort spaced out next to each other, Jade Lake in Revelstoke NP had four in a 2x2 grid mounted together (that’d be hard to map as distinct objects).

So perhaps something like:


Most places in Banff NP had two hangs next to each other.

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Would you then also include in under the camp site details e.g. animal_proof_storage=yes, together with a node to say whereabouts it is?

A bear box is entirely self-contained: you don’t need to provide anything but the food. Bear hangs and bear wires require, at a minimum, that you have a hangable container to put the food in.

But what does bear_locker:quantity=12 mean? There are 12 compartments, or 12 cabinets? How do you indicate the former?
For some stats, there is 5 bearproof_storage | Keys | OpenStreetMap Taginfo in response to @Fizzie41 's animal_proof_storage=yes example. I like the direction of the 1 bear_resistant | Keys | OpenStreetMap Taginfo and 3 bearproof | Keys | OpenStreetMap Taginfo more. It could be used on storage, =waste_* and recycling_type=container if needed, and perhaps barrier= (eg electric fence should have different voltage levels for different animals?) .
So can amenity=locker be adopted directly? With eg animalproof=bear . Of course Proposal:Locker - OpenStreetMap Wiki needs to be negotiated and Proposal talk:Luggage locker (2017) - OpenStreetMap Wiki resolved. animalproof= would be usable on pet park gates (at least a animalproof=dog for the design intent of namesake =dog_park ) , and other special barrier= designed to stop different animal sizes. Then you can decide how to count locker numbers together consistently. (notably capacity= has a collision between number of compartments in Proposal:Locker - OpenStreetMap Wiki there, and compartment capacity in Proposal:Extended Camp Site - OpenStreetMap Wiki mentioning amenity=bear_box and bear_box=yes ) Both amenity=locker + locker=food functionality, and locker=yes attribute on feature (on =camp_site ) have been provided there.
For hanging, I’m reminded by man_made=flagpole . So they could be eg man_made=pulley , with some further indication. This may be questioned for separating into 2 features, but lockers and pulleys are different enough.
That being said, amenity= vs man_made= is a real issue. A recurring question for other features is how to indicate individual devices vs the function as a room or shop space, eg =vending_machine , =parcel_locker , =atm . In fact, there are 11 amenity=food_storage | Tags | OpenStreetMap Taginfo , and 3 man_made=food_storage_pole | Tags | OpenStreetMap Taginfo vs 1 amenity=food_pole | Tags | OpenStreetMap Taginfo , showing the varied approach. So another possibility could be eg amenity=food_storage + man_made=locker vs man_made=pulley . Again this would require coordination with amenity=locker .
As a side note, technically Tag:amenity=bear_box - OpenStreetMap Wiki should be “rejected” . It had been pushed in the wide-ranging Proposal:Campsite properties - OpenStreetMap Wiki , while Proposal:Extended Camp Site - OpenStreetMap Wiki is more inactive. There is a related question in Proposal talk:Extended Camp Site - OpenStreetMap Wiki for the topic here.

I’d probably put it as a discrete node. In Parks Canada at least you can have a pit toilet, camp area, poorly constructed picnic tables, and bear storage all scattered around a general “camp area”. Signage is sometimes poor between these areas.

In the US I’ve always seem them either side by side

or occasionally stacked on top of each other

In Canada it’s more of a single large locker with multiple compartments.

I think the number of useable compartments is more important than the configuration they are in.

Could you format your post a bit, I had a bit of trouble following how settling animal proof gates led to being able to count lockers consistently.

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They are just examples of how animalproof= can be used.
If someone wants to draw each cabinet, you need to define the quantity. Or someone only sees 2 cabinets, and doesn’t or can’t count the number of compartments, there should be provisions for it.
I’m thinking it should be amenity=scented_item_storage . That’s the purpose. The animal concerned can be added with animalproof= . Maybe there are multiple prominent animals, or something other than bear is the main threat elsewhere.
Poles without pulleys should be differentiated. They can have hooks or forks.

  1. 1 cabinet / pole / bar / pulley alone
  • amenity=scented_item_storage + man_made= =locker / =pole / =bar / =pulley + animalproof=bear point. =bar can be a line.
  1. Multiple cabinets or poles scattered around
  • amenity=scented_item_storage + animalproof=bear + scented_item_storage= =locker / =pole / =pulley point at center (area could be allowed, but is arbitrary and only indicative)
  • man_made=locker / man_made=pole / man_made=pulley + animalproof=bear points when drawn.
    It can be argued clustering means this is unneeded, but I suppose there is a difference between clustering of different storage locations, and clustering of cabinets.
  1. A row of cabinets
  • amenity=scented_item_storage + animalproof=bear + scented_item_storage=locker center point / line / area
  • man_made=locker + animalproof=bear point / line / area along/inside.
  1. Sheltered cabinet(s) or otherwise definable area Do You Really Need a Bear Canister? - Mortons on the Move
  • amenity=scented_item_storage + scented_item_storage=locker + animalproof=bear (+ covered=yes point / building=roof area)
  • man_made=locker (+ covered=yes ) points inside.
    4.1. If single, then amenity=scented_item_storage + man_made=locker + covered=yes is also valid at first.
  1. A hut, apparently most common in the Nordics Bear cache - Wikipedia
  • amenity=scented_item_storage + building=yes (in lieu of better choices; unsure whether they should be man_made=tower) area / + indoor=yes point (?)

In the examples, scented_item_storage=is only added when the devices are detached or separately drawn. The motivation is to allow adding the device separately with man_made= points , while still keeping an amenity= area for the whole group. Otherwise, you would have duplicate points and an area of the same feature tag, with unclear meaning.
I can write a list of example to compare how an amenity=luggage_storage(as raised in Proposal talk:Luggage locker (2017) - OpenStreetMap Wiki that I agreed with) together with man_made=lockers could solve several outstanding examples. This includes additionally counter service, and non-counter service by staff. But that’s further off-topic.


That makes sense. Rodents can be an issue (a more frequent one actually, if not as dramatic) than bears where I usually hike, but anything that’s stationary and bear proof is rodent proof.

Some portable solutions like the Ursack are not - there is a bear resistant version and a bear and rodent resistant version. They used to just have a rodent one too. Note that even the bear ones are not accepted in many very high bear risk areas as legal storage, but it’s an example.

In my general experience all cabinets are within 2 meters of each other and are more often side by side with little to no gap between them. I think an area would be good enough vs mapping out each cabinet (that’d be getting into the margin of error with GPS anyways).

Bear hangs are generally very close to each other - there might be an area with two, then another area with one or two.

I think ideally the number of compartments is what matters, but I think it could be useful to count cabinets as well.

Slightly OT, but are they one person / family / group each, or do multiples share a communal locker?

How about a way, just with a line to show 12 cabinets here?

Welp, different people have their own preference and method. You want an area. Another wants a line. Some wants a center point. Others a point for each of them eventually. They all need to be catered for flexibility, ease of use, and compatibility.
I agree the number of compartments is the most important, but it needs to be shown clearly. And taking into account the aforementioned different methods.

It can vary, most of the time it is communal in the backcountry or at least informal. In Revelstoke there was one locker with four compartments and four camp sites, so it’s expected everyone uses a compartment but if you’re the only one there you could use all four.

Along trailheads frontcountry backpacker campgrounds (only eligible before/after a trip), and in backcountry sites in the Sierra Nevada they’re all communal. Many front country campgrounds have a bear locker per campsite which is individual.

I’d be fine with either, along a parking lot a way makes sense, if it’s 2-3 pole hangs near each other having an area probably more makes sense. If someone wants to try and get each bear box individually that’d work, but probably be a pain in areas that have dozens of them.

Having less options probably helps the chance that a renderer can accurately display them all, but there is a lot of variability to keep in mind.

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