NIBLEY – Firefly Park in Nibley is a popular nighttime destination during the month of June. Curfews have been lifted to accommodate people walking to see the night-time extravaganza of the firefly’s mating ritual.
Becky Yeager is a member of a couple of bug associated organizations and is heavily involved in the park and its purpose.
“Firefly Park in Nibley is a prime place for fireflies, with one of the most accessible places in the West to see them,” she said. “There may be other places in Cache Valley, but they are on private land. This park is the only place people can see them on public land.”
A couple of years ago, Nibley City decided to turn the 20 acres of undeveloped area adjacent to Heritage Park into a park to protect the beetles.
There are springs in the park that make it an ideal spot for the insects to live. The milkweed on the property is also ideal for monarch butterflies. The city and volunteers are turning the area into a pollinator garden to attract more fireflies, bees and butterflies.
David Zook, Nibley City manager, said the city purchased the land in 2015 and turned it into a nature preserve in 2019.
Zook wanted to remind people coming to see the light display to be respectful of the wildlife. It is illegal to trap or harass wildlife in the city of Nibley.
“Also be respectful of the neighbors,” he said. “It is a great experience if you have never seen them before.”
“We have been actively trying to educate residents around the park on the new light ordinance and importance of minimizing light pollution,” said Yeager, a member of the CV Wildlife Association. “Nibley City passed an ordinance to reduce light pollution, which has an effect on fireflies.”
She said a couple of years ago, the people from Stokes Nature Park started to do tours. They had about 5,000 people show up. They are offering tours this year also.
“If someone wants to come see fireflies, it is best to come about dark (9:30 p.m. until 10 p.m.) and go up the west parking lot of Heritage Park,” Yeager said. “You can watch them off to the west.”
She said they will be active during the month of June. By the Fourth of July, the show is usually finished.
Yeager asks people stay on the cement paths and not get too close to the fireflies.
Besides cement walking paths, the park also has a playground for children on the west side, and there are plans in the works for a pavilion.
Yeager, also a member of Monarchs of Bridgerland, and Jenny Dowd, founder of RAE Environmental, have organized a webinar on fireflies, monarch butterflies and bees in June.
“The Monarchs and Other Winged Creatures webinar will be hosted by Zoom using code #737796 and is free,” she explained. “Check the Nibley City website (www.nibleycity.com) or the city’s (Facebook) page for more details. During the webinar, Gail Morse will discuss a Southwest Monarch study, from the Utah Museum of Natural History Christy Bills will talk fireflies in Utah, and finally Joe Wilson, of the Utah State Bee Lab, will present.”