The Collector in Tagish

Douglas Roy Rogers Dupont the Third.

His name is Douglas Roy Rogers Dupont the Third.

That’s what he’s known as on the water around Tagish, at least; it’s his two-way radio handle.

He says all he needs is to catch a fish bigger than 60 pounds, and then he can die.

Dupont used to live in a cabin on California Beach, on Tagish Lake. Fishing brought him North.

Now, he owns a lodge with his wife, Mitch Dupont. The Six-Mile River Resort sits on the bank of Six-Mile River, right before it turns into Marsh Lake. Doug Dupont takes guests charter fishing. He can’t sell what they catch in the restaurant, but he can show his guests how to cook it.

He docks his pirate-flagged fishing boat on the wharf, right in front of the restaurant patio, and asks diners if they want some fish eggs. He shows them his cooler-full of fresh trout eggs.

You can tell he owns the place. 

They’ve owned it for seven years and Doug Dupont says at first people thought nobody would come.

But the lodge is getting very popular. Dupont says people, motorbikers, sometimes, or RVers, stumble upon the resort by accident. They stay. Or, they book a one-night stay and end up staying a week.

“These guys here are on their sixth day,” he says. “They came for a day.”

He’s referring to a South African couple. Later, the man comes up to Dupont to chat. He tells Dupont to wait, as soon as he retires from his game reserve job in South Africa, he’s going to come and help the Duponts maintain the lodge.

Before it was Six-Mile River Resort, the spot was known as Curry’s Corner. Dupont’s got the old Curry sign hanging on the back wall of the lodge. The lettering is faded but you can tell it was a fine piece of work when it was new. It’s not the first finely crafted old thing Dupont came across.

He says he was sixteen when he got his hands on a 1929 New Brunswick radio. He gestures to where it is, inside the restaurant, and says, “It still works.”

Around that time, he also got a 120-year-old rocking chair.

“I guess it’s a 160 years now,” he says.

Dupont’s attracted to good workmanship: “Things used to be made so much better.”

Outboard motors line an outside fence, a nod, perhaps, to the grip fishing has on Dupont’s life. Underneath the motors are metal gas containers.

He’s got license plates from around North America arranged on the front wall of the lodge, and old canoes under the back porch — two Teslins, and one chestnut.

“I’m just a collector, I’m not a hoarder.”

He recently went to his brother’s wedding in Vancouver. As he is wont to do, he skulked out some garage sales in the area, and came home with an old pair of leather-topped speed skates. They’re hanging on a wall.

He collects horns, and has an old wood sleigh loaded with a jumble of antlers. He rummages through them to find an old moose jaw. He gives it to me.

He says it’s gotten to the point where people hang on to old things when they find them, to give to him. He trades them for a beer, or dinner at the lodge.

He points to his collection of cast-iron tractor seats and says stuff like that used to be easy to come across for cheap. Now, because of shows like American Pickers, obscure workmanship is getting its due recognition. It’s making collecting a pricier hobby. It also makes finding old, forgotten things more of a treasure hunt.

Dupont goes to Salvation Army stores, and garage sales, whenever he can. He goes to swap meets in the States and always brings things home from his travels.

There’s a massive whale vertebrae in the restaurant. Dupont says they came across the skeleton in Baja, Mexico. He took the third vertebrae, and drove it home in the RV.

He started collecting cook stoves and realized they make good flower planters. Peonies burst through cookstove burners; the stovepipes are crooked. Dupont says that’s sort of a nod to Jim Robb’s style.

Dupont’s carefully displayed collections are like life imitating art.

“The amount of people who come here and see, it reminds them of their childhood,” He says.

Dupont says he’ll collect just about everything. The only things he won’t collect are wives.

“They’re too expensive.”

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