Latest Weather Information

The Great Smoky Mountain Journal

Tuesday, January 01, 2019 02:49 PM

Home Weather Local Our View State National World Faith


Great Smoky Mountains Firefly Viewing Lottery Today Through April 30; Results On May 9

GSMNP (WVLT) -- Each year in late May or early June, thousands of visitors come to the Smokies in hopes of watching the naturally occurring phenomenon of Photinus carolinus, a firefly species that flashes synchronously.

Courtesy Radim Schreiber
Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced the dates for this year's firefly viewing near Elkmont Campground. The viewing opportunity through a lottery system will be from June 7 through June 14.

The lottery system will be open for applications from Friday, April 27 at noon until April 30 at 8 p.m. Results of the lottery will be announced on May 9.

A total of 1,800 vehicle passes will be available for the event which includes: 1768 regular-parking passes (221 per day) which admit one passenger vehicle up to 19’ in length with a maximum of six occupants, and 32 large-vehicle parking passes (four per day) which admit one large vehicle (RV, mini-bus, etc.) from 19’ to 30’ in length, with a maximum of 24 occupants. Officials said lottery applicants must apply for either a regular-parking pass or large-vehicle parking pass and then choose two possible dates to attend the event over the eight-day viewing period.

A GSMNP representative said the lottery system uses a randomized computer drawing to select applications. There is no fee to enter the lottery this year, but lottery winners will be charged a $20 reservation fee and given a parking pass. The fee covers the cost of awarding the passes, viewing supplies, and nightly personnel costs for managing the viewing opportunity. The pass allows visitors to park at the Sugarlands Visitor Center and allows access to a shuttle service traveling to Elkmont.

There is a limit of one lottery application per household per season. All lottery applicants will receive an email from park officials on May 9 that they were “successful” and awarded a parking pass or “unsuccessful” and not able to secure a parking pass.

The number of passes issued is based on the Sugarlands Visitor Center parking lot capacity, according to officials. During the event, the shuttle buses will begin picking up visitors from the Sugarlands Visitor Center parking area at 7 p.m. A $2 round-trip, per-person fee will be collected when people board the shuttle.

Visitors may visit the website and search for “Firefly Event” or follow this link for more information and to enter the lottery. Parking passes may also be obtained by calling 1-877-444-6777.