NATURAL POSE: Dusan Nedelko in his natural surroundings at the disc golf course he created in Tom Tomson Park in South River.
SOUTH RIVER – Memories of a dedicated outdoorsman with a true passion for his sport of choice – disc golf – have been pouring in since news began to spread about the death of Dusan Nedelko.
The 39-year-old South River man was killed in an early morning collision on Hwy. 11 on Thursday, Feb. 18.
Nedelko had lived in the area for more than a decade working at several places that offered outdoor experiences including Northern Edge Algonquin and Wendigo Expeditions.
But it is his efforts in turning South River’s Tom Thomson Park into more than just a public space that he is being most remembered for. Already very active on the competitive disc golf circuit, Nedelko started in 2002 to work towards having a course in his hometown.
To that end, Nedelko became very focused, first approaching a council committee overseeing planning for the then proposed park and later council, explaining the virtues of the game.
After gaining consent Nedelko not only planned the park, but took it upon himself to brush out the 18 hole course. He also approached area businesses to sponsor the special steel baskets that served as ‘holes.’
“Endless hours he worked down there planning, working and clearing brush,” said long-time South River councillor Brenda Scott.
“He went ahead and cleared out the brush himself. He was down there for quite a few days,” recalls South River mayor Jim Coleman.
After the course was up and running Nedelko started a youth drop-in group offering local kids a chance to learn the game and play it.
He also established two regular tourneys. One was the Ice Bowl that coincided with South River Winterfest and the other the Black Fly Fling that went on during the village’s famous Black Fly Hunt closing ceremonies.
He had extensive connections with the disc golf community and used them to draw visitors from out of town to play and grow the exposure of the course and the village.
By this week, a long list of tributes to Nedelko were posted on the Ontario Disc Golf Association website as well as a Facebook group started in his memory.