36 CFR § 293.15 - Gathering information about resources other than minerals.
(a) The Chief, Forest Service, shall allow any activity, for the purposes of gathering information about resources, other than 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. Prospecting for minerals or any activity for the purpose of gathering information about minerals in National Forest Wilderness is subject to the regulations in part 252 of this chapter.
(c) Any person desiring to use motorized equipment, to land aircraft, or to make substantial excavations for the purpose of gathering information about resources, other than minerals, shall apply in writing to the Office of the Forest Supervisor or District Ranger having jurisdiction over the land involved. Excavations shall be considered substantial which singularly or collectively exceed 200 cubic feet within any area which can be bounded by a rectangle containing 20 surface acres. Such use or excavation may be authorized by a permit issued by the Forest Service. Such permits may provide for the protection of National Forest resources, including wilderness values, protection of the public, and restoration of disturbed areas, including the posting of performance bonds.
(d) Prospecting for water resources and the establishment of new reservoirs, water-conservation works, power projects, transmission lines, and other facilities needed in the public interest and the subsequent maintenance of such facilities, all pursuant to section (4)(d)(4)(1) of the Wilderness Act, will be permitted when and as authorized by the President.