The coordinated insects, which put on a light show each year as the males fill the forest with simultaneous blinks at night, have surged in popularity since news of their presence spread by word of mouth over the past decade or so. As interest surged, the National Park Service had to start managing visitation — first in 2006 by limiting access to the Elkmont area where the show is best to shuttle service only during peak activity and then, in 2011, by initiating a first-come-first-serve online reservation system.In recent years, the demand for parking passes has far exceeded the number of passes available. Passes have sold out within seconds, frustrating both online and phone users.“Last year, we had so many people log in online, almost simultaneously, to attempt to reserve a parking pass for the firefly event that the online system and phone system were maxed out,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash, who arrived at the park in 2015. “I quickly learned that trying to reserve a parking pass was like trying to get a ticket to a popular rock concert!”The lottery system, which is used for other popular Park Service events such as the White House Easter Egg Roll and the Half Dome cable system in Yosemite National Park, will attempt to make the process more equitable and convenient.Applicants can apply anytime during the three-day period from noon Friday, April 29, to 8 p.m. Monday, May 2, atwww.recreation.gov. Dates for this year’s eight-day peak show will be announced on Tuesday, April 26, and lottery results will be announced on Tuesday, May 10, with a total of 1,800 passes available.Lottery winners will be charged a $1.50 reservation fee and awarded a parking pass for Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg, where they will catch a shuttle to see the fireflies at Elkmont.1.877.444.6777 or www.nps.gov/grsm/learn/nature/fireflies.htm. Those wanting to get a peek at the famous synchronous fireflies in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will have to enter a lottery this year for a chance at tickets.
A relatively unknown face till two years ago, Deepika Kumari is a perfect example of determination overcoming odds. But her fame has not altered the ace archer’s sole focus on an Olympic medal.Deepika was recently crowned world No.1 but she admits that her ranking would only be justified if she wins a medal at the London Games.”I’ll be happy about my rankings only if I win a medal at the London Olympics,” said Deepika during a send-off ceremony in the Capital on Monday for seven Indian sportspersons who will be competing at the Olympics.The 18-year-old archer from Jharkhand says that winning an Olympic medal has been her dream.”An Olympic medal means a lot to me – it’s my life. All through my life I have been dreaming of an Olympic medal.”However, the Koreans pose a threat to her ambitions but Deepika added that her experience and improved technique will hold her in good stead.”I have been focusing on my technique as in archery even a slight mistake can cost you. Koreans have been winning gold medals at the Olympics for a long time. But it’s time that I prove that I can beat them at the top level. The experience of playing at the World Cups against the Koreans will come in handy,” Deepika said.Ace marksman Manavjit Singh Sandhu is another sportsperson who is expected to make his presence count at the Olympics.London will be Manavjit’s third Games and he hopes to come good this time although weather is one factor that the trap shooter thinks could be decisive.advertisement”They have even taken away the shelter from the range which makes it difficult to shoot in rain,” said Manavjit.Meanwhile, contingent sponsors Samsung announced cash award of Rs 20 lakh for winning a gold medal at the London Games.The company also said a silver medal winner would get Rs 15 lakh, while Rs 10 lakh would be awarded to a bronze medal winner.