Chestnut Ridge

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PA State Game Land 51 is located in central Fayette County, PA along a portion of Chestnut Ridge. Elevation ranges from around 900 feet along the Youghiogheny River to in excess of 2300 feet in Wharton Township, PA.

The sprawling game reserve has land in the following communities: Connellsville Township, PA, Dunbar Township, PA, Springfield Township, PA, Stewart Township, PA, and Wharton Township, PA. It also borders portions of Ohiopyle State Park, PA to its east.

Water flowing through PA State Game Land 51 include: Bruner Run, Dunbar Creek (and its many smaller tributaries), Laurel Run, Morgan Run, and Youghiogheny River.
?} Jumonville, PA is a village in North Union Township, PA that is located on Chestnut Ridge in Fayette County, PA.
Geography
?} Connellsville, PA straddles the Youghiogheny River and is at the western base of Chestnut Ridge, which is known locally as the start of the "mountains."
?} Indian Creek is a tributary of the Youghiogheny River that originates in Forbes State Forest at Donegal Township, PA and flows over 28 miles before emptying into the Youghiogheny River in Springfield Township, PA. The stream drains approximately 125 square miles between the eastern slope of Chestnut Ridge and the western slope of Laurel Ridge. Five miles prior to the stream's confluence with the Youghiogheny River is a dam on Indian Creek, which forms Mill Run Reservoir.
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Dunbar Creek is a popular stream for trout fishing in Fayette County, PA. Dunbar Creek's headwaters are located between Fulton Knob and Dunbar Knob in North Union Township, PA (near Jumonville, PA) just east of Chestnut Ridge. The creek flows north by northeast along the eastern slopes of Chestnut Ridge through forested highlands as it enters Dunbar Township, PA, and then steers in a northwest direction as it cuts through Chestnut Ridge. Here the creek parallels Dunbar Ohiopyle Road until it enters Dunbar, PA, afterwards it turns north east again prior to its confluence with the Youghiogheny River.

Prior to Dunbar, PA, much of Dunbar Creek is on PA State Game Land.

Dunbar Creek is popular for fishing, and fly fishing along its upper portion. Access is provided by PA State Game Land 51 parkings lots and improved roads.
?} Zebley Flats is an unusually flat highland area of forested terrain along the crest of Chestnut Ridge located in Dunbar Township, PA (central Fayette County, PA). Zebley Flats is on PA State Game Land 51 and is popular with local hunters for its abundant wildlife.

Zebley Flats can be accessed south of Dunbar Ohiopyle Road via some rough jeep trails.
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Casparis is a remote rugged area on Chestnut Ridge made up of tree farms and PA State Game Land 51 located primarily in Connellsville Township, PA. It is named for the Casparis Mine and the former Casparis Community that sprung up to service the mine. Lookout Point Overlook, a half mile above the mines, has one of the best views in all of Fayette County, PA.
History
?} Kenneth Casparis founded the Casparis Quarry in 1916 at an outcropping of blue limestone below the crest of Chestnut Ridge in an area of Connellsville Township, PA that is now known as Casparis.

At the site of the Casparis Quarry, tunnels were dug into the ridge to obtain more of the stone thus creating the Casparis Mine.
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Casparis Mine is made up of four large (thirty to forty foot tall) tunnels dug a quarter of a mile into a portion of Chestnut Ridge for the purpose of obtaining blue limestone. The mine was dug at the Casparis Quarry.

PA State Game Land officials had the entrances all but sealed in August of 2005, citing safety concerns and the need for a bat habitat as the reason. Two of the tunnels were left open but sealed with metal gates to allow bats and authorized personnel entrance into the mine, but the gates were vandalized and destroyed within a year of their construction. As of this writing, the PA State Game Land were raising money to have additional gates constructed.

Prior to being sealed the "Casparis Caves," as locals call them, were popular as a destination on the remote jeep trails crisscrossing the Casparis mountain area.

Illegal camping was common along the entrances of the Casparis Mine.
Campfires inside of the tunnels were blamed for a major roof collapse back in the 1980s, as the extreme heat changes caused fracturing in the rocks. The collapse left a large almost perfectly sphered dome in the ceiling of the largest tunnel.
Recreation
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Jumonville, a Christian Camp and Retreat Center located at Jumonville, PA along the crest of Chestnut Ridge's Dunbar Knob (elevation 2,480 feet), is famous for its The Great Cross Of Christ, a 60 foot tall steel white cross that is visible throughout the Uniontown, PA area.

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