In an interview this morning, Tracy said his activities on a small portion of the claim were designed to explore the area prior to filing a plan of operations.
Regulators are stalling mining, he says, at a time when gold prices have hit all-time highs of around $1,500 an ounce -- another mining plan Tracy filed more than two years ago on BLM land is still pending.
"Every acre that's good for mining is located on critical habitat (for coho and spotted owls)," he said. "They're basically shutting down the whole industry."
Last year, a panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Tracy's arguments after he appealed his conviction for illegally mining Forest Service lands. Tracy had tried to mine there since 1996, including submitting a new request in 2005.