December 9, 2021

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travel, Always a step ahead

Lake Erie Outfitters owner announces closing of kayak rental business


Lake Erie Outfitters’ Paul Lukjanczuk announced he is closing his business because the land he leased for it was sold to the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Ron Leonardi
 
| Erie Times-News

A popular kayak rental service located near the gateway to Presque Isle State Park has closed its operation.

Paul Lukjanczuk, 47, of Erie, owner of Lake Erie Outfitters, at 421 Peninsula Drive, in Millcreek Township, announced he is closing the business, which offered kayak, paddleboard and other equipment rentals.

The state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources in December finalized the purchase of more than 18 acres extending south from the Tom Ridge Environmental Center property to West Sixth Street.

The agency purchased the property from Erie-based BAC Inc., which leased a portion of the property to Lukjanczuk to operate his business. 

“BAC didn’t renew my lease so they could sell the property,” Lukjanczuk said. “I didn’t see a viable option to move my business because the location was so key. I got a lot of business where people would turn around and come back to my business because they saw it there.”

DCNR officials said the acquisition of the 18-plus-acre tract of land will serve as a greenway and gateway to Presque Isle State Park, which attracted nearly 5 million visitors in 2020. 

“I knew this sale was coming, so at the end of the (2020) season, I stated liquidating all of my inventory,” Lukjanczuk said. 

Lukjanczuk opened his business, which included Air B&B camper rentals, online in 2013 and set up shop at the Peninsula Drive location in 2014. 

“One of the things I enjoyed the most is I loved to see people show up who were unsure and nervous about doing something, maybe for the first time, and they would go out and come back and have something wonderful to tell me about an incredible adventure and a wonderful time they just had,” Lukjanczuk said. “I saw a lot of smiling faces.”

Lukjanczuk, co-owner of Millcreek Township-based Lukjan Supply & Mfg. Inc., operated Lake Erie Outfitters mainly on a yearly lease agreement.

“I was holding out some hope that something might happen,” Lukjanczuk said. “It’s March and people need to know they have to make other arrangements if they want to kayak or paddleboard here (at Presque Isle State Park).”

Contact Ron Leonardi at [email protected] Folow him on Twitter @ETNLeonardi.

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