In communities across the state, residents interested in their heritage gather regularly to exchange stories, reinforce historical chronicles and to patch together a localized view of Utah history.

But with memberships consisting of primarily older residents, local historical societies are falling victim to apathy from the younger generation, and historians are worried their efforts will be lost."It's really difficult to get people out and involved in things," said Corrine Springer, vice president of the Sevier Historical Society in Richfield and president of the Utah Statewide Archaeological Society. "I think the (younger) people reach a point where they (believe) they know everything they need to know. It's frustrating."

Along U.S. 89, such societies are common, and their efforts produce volumes of information about the state's settlement. Like the territory they study, the characteristics of these historians are diverse, and they hope that will spark an interest for potential new members.

Springer, likely the youngest of the Sevier Historical Society members, credits her participation to an interest in archaeology.

"I love history. It has a lot to teach people," said Springer, who has served as society vice president for 21/2 years. "It's fascinating and wonderful and I have a blast doing it."

It shouldn't be hard to market the state's past, historians say. Utah is perhaps lucky that its history is littered with colorful stories that make for easy reading.

In southern and southeastern Utah, residents speak with relish of the Old West flavor so typical of Kane, Washington, San Juan, Wayne and Garfield counties.

Turn-of-the-century cattle drives, long-standing feuds over water and early conflict with the region's American Indian population - the stories are recorded in the minutes of historical societies based in Kanab; Orderville, Kane County; Panguitch; Tropic, Garfield County; Torrey, Wayne County; and other towns.

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In an isolated pocket of central Utah, Piute County's mining industry became material for stories of a different nature. Old-timers reminisce about the Old Kimberly Mine and ghost town, abandoned Bullion and Virginia cities, and Prohibition-era bootlegging.

Organizations like the Sevier Historical Society, Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, Kane County Historical Society and others are the key to preserving the personal stories that make the state's history interesting, participants say.

Amy Levanger, 70, caretaker of the DUP museum on Orderville's Main Street, said only a handful of young girls participate in the Daughters of Utah Pioneers chapter there. As she grows older, she's worried who will assume her role as museum caretaker.

"They're just too busy doing other things," she said. "I really don't know who's going to do it."

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