A rare firefly that illuminates Smoky Mountain — but you need to book a place

Hundreds of rare fireflies flash in unison, which quickly brightens the sky in the Great Smoky Mountains, but anyone who wants to see them should sign up for the spot right away.

The National Park Service on Tuesday Opportunity to watch the annual synchronized fireflies It will be held at Elkmont Campground from June 1st to June 8th. This event offers “limited viewing opportunities”. Those who are interested must participate in the vehicle pass lottery and apply for a spot.

The lottery starts at 10am on Friday and closes at 11:59 pm on May 3rd.application You can find it here..

The park only accepts one application per household. Applicants must enter the date they would like to attend and can choose another date.

“All lottery applicants will be charged a $ 1.00 application fee,” says Park Services. “Successful applicants will be automatically awarded a parking ticket and will be charged $ 24.00 on the same credit or debit card used for the application fee.”

The park will distribute 100 vehicle passes daily for the event and applicants will know if they have been selected by May 7.

“Each vehicle pass provides admission for direct parking at the Elkmont display location for a single passenger car with up to seven passengers,” says Park Service.

The popular firefly appears in the park every year from late May to early June, attracting thousands of tourists from all over the world.

According to the park’s services, male fireflies flash lights all at once as part of a mating ritual. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which straddles North Carolina and Tennessee, is one of the few places in the United States. You can find unique bugs.

Seeds found Between New York and Georgia, Scientists say, and in 2019 they Found on the summit of Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina.

But they are “most widely known and recognized” in Elkmont.

The Smoky’s is home to 19 species of fireflies. But synchronized fireflies are the only fireflies in the United States that can “synchronize the pattern of blinking lights,” says the Parks Authority.

But why they flash all at once remains a mystery.

“Men’s competition may be one reason. They all want to flash first,” says the NPS. “Or, if men all flash together, they are more likely to be noticed and women can make better comparisons.”

The Elkmont area has restricted access during viewing days since 2006 to provide a secure viewing experience and minimize interference.

However, last year Park canceled annual viewing event According to COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are pleased to re-provide the opportunity for visitors to experience synchronized fireflies in a secure way at Elkmont,” Cassias Cash said in a news release. “Last year, we canceled the viewing opportunity due to concerns about the use of shuttle operations during a pandemic. Our staff was instrumental in developing a new operational plan that could directly restrict passenger car parking in 2021. “