Alta Schrock (1911-2001) began her love of nature by identifying and listing several hundred native medicinal herbs, trees, ferns, and flowers. In high school, which went to the 7th grade, Alta established a natural history museum in the school basement, landscaped the school grounds, and wrote nature essays in the Meyersdale Republican. After school, she asked her father if he could build her a little cabin in the woods if she could collect delinquent accounts from his business. Instead of money, she collected lumber. Alta's sister relates, "A little cabin in a neighbor's woods turned from dream into reality, and it was there she did much of her writing." Alta studied plant life from here within a 15-mile radius.
Alta’s cabin, “The Sanctuary,” was moved to Spruce Forest in 1970. It’s now home to visiting artisans during the summer.