Great Smoky Mountains National Park cancels synchronous firefly viewing event due to COVID-19

Local Coronavirus Coverage

Photo: GSMNP

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WJHL) – The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has announced one of its biggest events of the year will not be held this year due to the coronavirus.

According to a release from GSMNP, the synchronous firefly viewing event has been canceled for 2020 to adhere to CDC guidelines.

The event draws thousands of visitors from across the country to Elkmont Campground every year to see the phenomenon.

During the viewing event, visitors could see Photinus carolinus, a species of firefly that flashes synchronously.

Last year, GSMNP reports 28,958 people from all 50 states and 19 countries came to see the fireflies.

The viewings are typically held in late May or early June.

“The synchronous firefly viewing area at Elkmont simply isn’t spacious enough to safely allow hundreds of people to gather under the current health guidance,” said Superintendent Cash. “While disappointing, the safety of our employees, volunteers, and visitors continues to be our number one priority.”

Park officials also say the shuttle service would not allow people to safely distance themselves from each other.

Continuing coverage of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

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