The beautiful, blinking synchronous fireflies in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park have become so popular that the park has installed a lottery system for those who want to see them, the Smoky Mountain News reports.
The popularity of the lightning bugs has grown steadily over the past decade, the newspaper reports. The park has responded by limiting access to the Elkmont area first in 2006 by starting up a shuttle service. Then in 2011, visitors had to make a reservation at peak viewing times. More:
Applicants can apply anytime during the three-day period from noon Friday, April 29, to 8 p.m. Monday, May 2, at www.recreation.gov. Dates for this year’s eight-day peak show will be announced on Tuesday, April 26, and lottery results will be announced on Tuesday, May 10, with a total of 1,800 passes available.
Lottery winners will be charged a $1.50 reservation fee and awarded a parking pass for Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg, where they will catch a shuttle to see the fireflies at Elkmont.
1.877.444.6777 or www.nps.gov/grsm/learn/nature/fireflies.htm