I would add this to the above post by long posts are difficult to edit. Again, please Jim, I am posting this information to help keep people out of trouble.
More on the BLM. Please, I am only posting this info because if you attempt to mine in wilderness you will encounter the federal policies.
http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/more/n ... chure.html
The Department of Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) administers about 264 million acres of land—nearly one-eighth of the United States—mostly in the western states and Alaska. The BLM also administers the mineral estate of nearly 700 million acres throughout the country. The BLM is responsible for the balanced management of the public lands and resources and their various values so that they are considered in a combination that will best serve the needs of the American people. The BLM bases its management on the principles of multiple use and sustained yield—a combination of uses that takes into account the long-term needs of future generations for renewable and nonrenewable resources. These resources include recreation, range, timber, minerals, watershed, fish and wildlife, wilderness, and natural scenic, scientific, and cultural values.
Can I file a mining claim on any Federal land?
No—not all Federal lands are open for mining claims. There are federally administered lands in 19 States where you may locate a mining claim or site: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. In these States, the BLM manages the surface public lands and the Forest Service manages the surface National Forest System lands. Excepting mineral materials,
the BLM is responsible for the minerals on both public lands and National Forest System lands.
Look at what you are doing here Mike. The statement above is 100% correct, but it has nothing to do with Wilderness Areas which are covered by their own separate CFR and have their own separate set of Regulations.
You may prospect and locate claims and sites on lands open to mineral entry. Claims may not be staked in areas closed to mineral entry by a special act of Congress, regulation, or public land order. These areas are withdrawn from the operation of the mining laws.
Areas withdrawn from location of mining claims include National Parks, National Monuments, Indian reservations, most reclamation projects, military reservations, scientific testing areas, most wildlife protection areas (such as Federal wildlife refuges), and lands withdrawn from mineral entry for other reasons. Lands withdrawn for power development may be subject to mining location and entry only under certain conditions. Mining claims may not be located on lands that have been:
designated by Congress as part of the National Wilderness Preservation System,
designated as a wild portion of a Wild and Scenic River, or
withdrawn by Congress for study as a Wild and Scenic River. There is usually a 1/4-mile buffer zone withdrawn from location of mining claims on either side of a river while the river is being studied for inclusion in the Wild and Scenic Rivers System.