36 CFR § 228.15 - Operations within National Forest Wilderness.
(a) The United States mining laws shall extend to each National Forest Wilderness for the period specified in the Wilderness Act and subsequent establishing legislation to the same extent they were applicable prior to the date the Wilderness was designated by Congress as a part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. Subject to valid existing rights, no person shall have any right or interest in or to any mineral deposits which may be discovered through prospecting or other information-gathering activity after the legal date on which the United States mining laws cease to apply to the specific Wilderness.
(b) Holders of unpatented mining claims validly established on any National Forest Wilderness prior to inclusion of such unit in the National Wilderness Preservation System shall be accorded the rights provided by the United States mining laws as then applicable to the National Forest land involved. Persons locating mining claims in any National Forest Wilderness on or after the date on which said Wilderness was included in the National Wilderness Preservation System shall be accorded the rights provided by the United States mining laws as applicable to the National Forest land involved and subject to provisions specified in the establishing legislation. Persons conducting operations as defined in § 228.3 in National Forest Wilderness shall comply with the regulations in this part. Operations shall be conducted so as to protect National Forest surface resources in accordance with the general purposes of maintaining the National Wilderness Preservation System unimpaired for future use and enjoyment as wilderness and to preserve its wilderness character, consistent with the use of the land for mineral location, exploration, development, drilling, and production and for transmission lines, water lines, telephone lines, and processing operations, including, where essential, the use of mechanized transport, aircraft or motorized equipment.
(c) Persons with valid mining claims wholly within National Forest Wilderness shall be permitted access to such surrounded claims by means consistent with the preservation of National Forest Wilderness which have been or are being customarily used with respect to other such claims surrounded by National Forest Wilderness. No operator shall construct roads across National Forest Wilderness unless authorized in writing by the Forest Supervisor in accordance with § 228.12.
(d) On all mining claims validly established on lands within the National Wilderness Preservation System, the operator shall take all reasonable measures to remove any structures, equipment and other facilities no longer needed for mining purposes in accordance with the provisions in § 228.10 and restore the surface in accordance with the requirements in § 228.8(g).
(e) The title to timber on patented claims validly established after the land was included within the National Wilderness Preservation System remains in the United States, subject to a right to cut and use timber for mining purposes. So much of the mature timber may be cut and used as is needed in the extraction, removal, and beneficiation of the mineral deposits, if needed timber is not otherwise reasonably available. The cutting shall comply with the requirements for sound principles of forest management as defined by the National Forest rules and regulations and set forth in stipulations to be included in the plan of operations, which as a minimum incorporate the following basic principles of forest management:
(1) Harvesting operations shall be so conducted as to minimize soil movement and damage from water runoff; and
(2) Slash shall be disposed of and other precautions shall be taken to minimize damage from forest insects, disease, and fire.
(f) The Chief, Forest Service, shall allow any activity, including prospecting, for the purpose of gathering information about minerals in National Forest Wilderness except that any such activity for gathering information shall be carried on in a manner compatible with the preservation of the wilderness environment as specified in the plan of operations.