Our Story

Deep in the heart of Pisgah National Forest sits the Cradle of Forestry in America — the birthplace of modern forestry in the United States.  

In 1972, the Cradle of Forestry in America Interpretive Association (CFAIA) was established “to promote and protect the Cradle of Forestry and provide support to the US Forest Service.”

Operations later moved to beautiful downtown Brevard, where the organization opened The Forest Place Gift Shop on the corner of Broad and Jordan streets. The store offered forest-related gifts and souvenirs, while proceeds helped continue to support the Cradle site.
The Forest Place Gift Shop
The Forest Place Gift Shop

Successful management of the Cradle site paved the way for further partnerships with the US Forest Service in the realm of campground and visitor center management as far as Texas and Pennsylvania. In the late 1980s, the CFAIA mission was adapted to include a new vision “to offer educational, recreational, and interpretive opportunities about forest and water resources.”

With educational programming as a priority, the CFAIA began working with the Natural Inquirer to promote and distribute free, science-based curriculum for schools and managed sites.

The addition of Anna Ruby Falls and Brasstown Bald Recreation Areas in northern Georgia, along with education outreach and tours through Pisgah Field School, sealed a foothold on providing exceptional informational and educational sites throughout the Southeast.

We now maintain and operate outdoor recreation and camping facilities across the southeast and beyond, along with educational programs and sightseeing tours designed to help you connect with nature.

In 2019 the CFAIA began working hard on a major rebranding project in an effort to unify ourselves under a new identity that more clearly reflects what we do as a whole, not just at The Cradle site. The rebranding cut to the core of what we do and dug deep into the roots of where we have been to reveal a new identity that clearly reflects who we are and where we are headed.

Our story is rooted in education about the Forest.


That is how our story began, but since that time we have grown tremendously and expanded our reach well beyond the Cradle.


Every active organization has a passion that fuels what they do. Our passion is to help you become inspired to experience life outdoors. We could tell countless stories about lives changed, weight that was lost, anxieties relieved — when people got inspired to live more of life outdoors.
Our passion is to help people become Inspired.
Our goal is to help people connect with Nature.


Believe it or not, as humans we NEED to connect with the outdoors. Studies have proven that spending regular time outdoors has positive physical and mental health benefits. Through this connection, we hope to instill good stewardship of natural resources, so that together, we can preserve our forests for future generations.


You can learn a lot in a classroom, but there is nothing quite like the experience of getting your hands dirty and really discovering something for yourself. That is why we offer tours and educational opportunities to all ages, abilities, and incomes — encouraging active, healthy lifestyles, while making meaningful connections with our public lands.
Our drive is to help people learn through Discovery.

When you discover, you connect. When you connect, you care. And when you care, you protect. Ultimately, we want to make sure our public lands are protected for future generations.

Lets Go Find Outdoors

Love the view?

You can help ensure that sites like this remain available for generations to come.