The first president of the Tri-County Sportsmen Club is stepping down after 34 years as the head of the group. Ed Lukan has been with the Sportsmen since its inception back in 1985, but he is ready to hand the reins to the next generation.

While he is stepping down as president, Lukan will still remain on the board.

“I’m staying on the board because they can’t run without me,” Lukan said jokingly.

The board organized back in 1985 with the first meeting held in the back of Lukan’s own Service Center. To gain some traction, the organization held fundraisers like fish fries to grow. That eventually led to them purchasing land in Clayton County.

Currently, the Sportsmen Club has 130 acres of land, 65 of those timber while the other 65 are part of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). The members started this group to help do their part for the environment, and those roots still hold true today.

“We believe in conservation and want to help the world survive,” Lukan said.

The environment is benefiting from some of the efforts of the Sportsmen Club. They have pollinators on a chunk of their land now, the group planted 3,200 trees back in 2000 and participates in the Adopt a Highway program. Lukan is proud of the work that the group has accomplished during his time.

“I have enjoyed just getting things done,” he said. “We have had a lot of good help over the years that have made this possible.”

Along with being president of the Sportsmen Club and owning his own business, he also spent 31 years on the volunteer fire department. However, after spending much of his life volunteering or working, he said that 34 years as the president was enough.

“It is time for the next generation to take over,” Mark Lukan, Ed’s son said.

Rodney Kern will be taking over as president of the club. He has been a board member for about three years and is ready to take on the challenge.

The Tri-County Sportsmen Club has a pond, campsites, rifle range, archery range, trap shooting area, handicap ramp to the pond, storage sheds, walking trails with an overlook and three pavilions.

Although Ed Lukan will no longer be head of the organization, this land holds special memories for him.

“I have hundreds and hundreds of hours of memories in this place,” he said.

Anyone is welcome to join the Tri-County Sportsmen Club and should visit www.tri-countysportsmenclub.com for membership forms or contact one of the Board of Directors if interested.