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Congaree National Park hosts lottery to view synchronous fireflies

The lottery will open at 11:00 a.m. April 15 and will remain open until 11:59 p.m. on April 19. The results will be announced on Friday, April 23.

HOPKINS, S.C. — The Congaree National Park  is one of the only places in North American where synchronous fireflies can be seen.  

The Congaree National Park will be offering the public opportunities to view the park’s fireflies on May 20-22 and May 27-29, 2021. According to the park, tickers will be available through a lottery system and will be required to enter the park on the evenings listed.

The lottery system was put into place to protect the health of visitors, staff, volunteers and the community. According to Congaree, only 25 vehicles will be allowed per night.

The lottery will open at 11:00 a.m. EDT on Thursday, April 15 and will remain open until 11:59 p.m. EDT on Monday, April 19. The results will be announced on Friday, April 23. A non-refundable service fee of $1 will be charged by Recreation.gov to enter the lottery. 

Those selected will have to pay a non-refundable $19 event fee to secure tickets ($20 total). Tickets will only be issued for passenger vehicles up to two axles that can fit in standard parking spaces (i.e. no motor homes, vehicles with trailers, buses or mini-buses). 

Lottery details, rules and additional firefly viewing information can be found here. 

“At our most recent fireflies event, over 12,000 visitors came to the park to view the fireflies and on some nights we welcomed over 2,000 visitors,” said Superintendent K. Lynn Berry. “After consulting with public health officials, we determined that a smaller-scale event would be a wise decision. The lottery system, which is based on the one that has been used for a similar fireflies event at Great Smoky Mountains National Park for years, seemed to be the fairest way of determining who will have access each night. We understand that this is a big change from previous years, but the lottery allows us to provide access to firefly viewing in a way that helps ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for participants while also protecting firefly habitat.”

The park entrance road will also be closed to visitors at 4 p.m. nightly starting on Tuesday, May 11 through Sunday, May 30. Visitors will not have have access to the Harry Hampton Visitor Center, frontcountry trails or the Boardwalk. However, the following areas of the park will remain open to the public on those evenings: Cedar Creek Canoe Trail, including South Cedar Creek and Bannister Bridge Canoe Landings, Bates Ferry Trail, Fork Swamp Trail and all of the park's backcountry. 

Visitors must wear face masks in federal buildings including visitor centers, historic structures, and museums. When outdoors, face masks are required on NPS-managed lands when physical distance cannot be maintained. 

For more information about viewing fireflies at Congaree National Park, click here. 

Enter the lottery here.

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