What is the Center's stance on the use of trekking poles?

Our position on trekking pole use is simple: We feel that trekking poles, when used properly, can help people enjoy the outdoors safely by giving an added level of stability and traction to those who otherwise may not be able to hike safely without them, e.g. those with joint issues, knee issues, etc.
That said, we encourage trekking pole users to give some thought to when and where poles could or should be used, depending on the environment. In some areas trekking pole use causes little damage whereas in other areas the damage can be severe.
As for the use of rubber tips, there is evidence that they can reduce impacts but there is also the logical counter position that they can reduce traction. To use or not to use is an individual decision. If someone were to use them, we’d ask that they secure them to the pole (use a small hose clamp for example) so they don’t inadvertently fall off and become litter.