Plans to redevelop former open-pit mine on edge of Joshua Tree NP part of never-ending battle over West's landscape

Just beyond the southeast corner of Joshua Tree National Park, rows of boarded-up houses, gouged mountainsides and concrete ruins are an ugly reminder of the never-ending battle over the West’s public lands.

This scarred piece of California desert is what’s left of one of the country’s largest open-pit mining operations and the little company town that Kaiser Steel Corp. built after World War II. More than three decades after the Eagle Mountain iron mine closed, it still haunts the park that borders it on three sides.

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