Cars and pedestrians crowd the parking lot about noon Wednesday at the summit of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park. Seasonal traffic congestion at the top of Cadillac, which has resulted in the summit road temporarily being shut down four times this summer, is one thing park officials hope to address by developing a traffic management plan. Credit: Bill Trotter | BDN

Acadia National Park has decided to wait another year before it implements a seasonal parking reservation system that will limit the number of vehicles allowed at certain times at popular sites in the park.

Acadia officials had hoped to have the system in place for the 2020 tourist season but now plan to have it ready for 2021, according to Acadia spokeswoman Christie Anastasia.

Rising visitation numbers and ongoing congestion each summer has prompted the park to develop plans for the system, which will limit the number of private vehicles allowed at sites such as the Cadillac Mountain summit, Sand Beach or the Jordan Pond House restaurant. Reservations will not be required at such sites for visitors who arrive on buses or bicycles, or hike in by foot.

The park has determined where in the park and at what times reservations will be required, but still has to figure out how an online parking reservation system might work, identify which companies may be qualified to design and manage such a system, request proposals and then hire someone to design the online system — all of which would have to happen essentially in the next six months in order for visitors to begin making their reservations for 2020, Anastasia said.

By delaying implementation of the plan, Acadia will be able to have it in place by early 2021, when many tourists outside Maine typically start planning their visits to Acadia later in the year, she said.

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....