Synchronous Fireflies 2017 Dates Announced For GSMNP
The dates for the synchronous fireflies 2017 event in the Great Smoky Mountains at Elkmont this summer are May 30 – June 6, 2017. During these dates the shuttles will run taking those with tickets to Elkmont campgrounds each evening for the firefly viewing event.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park service has announced it will use the online lottery system for tickets again this year for the annual synchronous firefly event at Elkmont this summer. Dates to this year’s event were announced on April 25, 2017. The ticket lottery will open on April 28 and last through May 1. Lottery ticket winners will be notified on May 10.
This annual event has become so popular the park service had to start using a lottery ticket process in 2016 for the public to access Elkmont campground. Last year over 20,000 entered the lottery but only 1800 people got tickets. There is no fee for the lottery ticket but there is a $2.75 parking fee for the parking pass at Sugarland Visitor Center in Gatlinburg, TN. Shuttles will leave from Sugarland Visitor Center and take you to Elkmont campground located in the Great Smoky Mountains north of Cherokee, NC. Elkmont campground is the viewing area for the synchronous fireflies event. It is one of the few places in the world where you can see this special kind of firefly that flashes in sync.
Each year in late May and early June synchronous fireflies (Photinus carolinus), a species of fireflies that live in the GSMNP, provide an amazing show due to their mating pattern. This flash pattern is unique to this type of firefly (also referred to by southerners as lighting bugs). The flashing has a pattern that male and female fireflies of this species recognize. The synchronous flashing is part of their mating process. It is a fascinating act of nature to watch under the stars in the quit of the night in the Great Smoky Mountains.
The peak time for this annual mating season is in late May to mid June and will last for about 2 weeks. The National Park Service for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park each year has a viewing event at Elkmont Campgrounds. More information can be obtained at www.recreation.gov/Firefly Event Page or by calling (877) 444-6777.
Important Dates to Know for the Synchronous Fireflies 2017 Event
Shuttles will run May 30 – June 6, 2017
Tuesday 4/25/17: Dates of event and shuttle operating period will be announced
Friday 4/28/17 at 12:00 p.m. (NOON) ET: Lottery for Vehicle Passes OPENS
Monday 5/1/17 at 8:00 p.m. ET: Lottery for Vehicle Passes CLOSED
Wednesday 5/10/17: All lottery applicants will be notified about their application. If SUCCESSFUL you will awarded a vehicle pass) or UNSUCCESSFUL and you were not awarded a vehicle pass)