Firefly tourism in the Great Smoky Mountains – an ethereal phenomenon

 Tuesday, September 28, 2021

The ethereal phenomenon of synchronous fireflies — a species famous for its ability to flash in unison is a popular phenomenon in the Great Smoky Mountains. A woman gestures toward her two young children and says, “We saw you walk down to the river, and then you disappeared. I told the girls you must be magical. This whole place is magical. Reminds me of Narnia or something.”

It does feel like you’ve traveled through a portal to another realm. To reach a trailhead in an area of the park known as Elkmont, along with hundreds of other visitors in the area to witness the synchronous fireflies’ light show, which generally happens in a two-week period around early June — you have to through a path of mountain cabins.

Remains of previous human settlement — some of which have been lost to the elements — are noticeableall over the place, scattered among river-rounded stones and beds of fern.

This year, Tufts University has released the first-ever comprehensive study of firefly tourism. According to research, globally, 1 million people travel to witness firefly-related phenomena every year. Since, synchronous fireflies of Elkmont are some of the most famous fireflies in the world it is a lifetime experience towitness these brilliant creatures.

The firefly event in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which includesa section of Tennessee and North Carolina, attractsenthusiasts from across the continent.

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