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Maximizing Adventure by Minimizing Risk


Tracey L. Knutson is an attorney licensed in Alaska, Colorado and Montana whose primary practice involves working with recreation and adventure sports commercial operators, public land administrators and recreation oriented educational groups. An experienced trial lawyer, Tracey defends recreation companies and sports groups from liability claims, often negotiating pretrial conclusions that minimize time and expense. In addition, she provides risk management and training services.

Tracey's belief, when it comes to recreational endeavors, is that risk and opportunity exist simultaneously. Learning how to maximize the opportunities in your recreational endeavors by minimizing or mitigating the risks is a key component of operating a quality adventure sport or recreational endeavor or business.

State of Risk

Alaska Supreme Court Ruling on Recreational Releases

On August 1, 2014 this firm, and one of its clients (Ledgends, Inc. d/b/a The Alaska Rock Gym) received a great result from the Alaska Supreme Court on a recreational case involving a release and waiver document. What is important about this case is that, though the Alaska Supreme Court has previously reviewed pre-activity exculpatory documents (release and waiver contracts) and ruled that they do not violate public policy in Alaska, the court has never before upheld a release. The Alaska Supreme Court has previously always found drafting errors in the releases at issue and finally, with the Ledgends, Inc. case, they have found a release that passed muster. (This is a relief as Tracey drafted this waiver a number of years ago!). In this very articulate decision the Supreme Court set out a 6 part test for reviewing recreational releases. As a bonus – the Alaska Supreme Court also settled a long standing question in Alaska as to whether the Alaska Unfair Trade Practices Act “UTPA” would apply to routine tort style claims by ruling that the UTPA (with its treble damages sting...) does NOT apply to tort claims. We are quite pleased with this decision and feel it will go a long way toward ensuring the viability of recreational releases (and businesses) in the State of Alaska. The citation for this case is: Claire Donahue v. Ledgends, Inc. d/b/a Alaska Rock Gym (click to view), Supreme Court Slip Opinion No. 6932 August 1, 2014.

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State of Risk

The State of Risk (DVD)

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It is our belief that combining instruction on how to develop a risk management plan with instruction on the basic principles of negligence oriented claims and the types of claims that are made against recreation providers enables outdoor recreation professionals - guides, educators and public land administrators - to have a more mature ability to address risk management in their endeavors.

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State of Risk

The State of Risk (DVD)

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The Dude Ranchers’ Association Convention, January 21-25, 2015, Tucson, Arizona

America Outdoors Confluence, December 25, 2014, Daytona Beach, Florida

Southcentral Alaska Avalanche Workshop, November 7, 2014, Anchorage, Alaska

Alaska Travel Industry Association Annual Conference, October 6-9, 2014, Fairbanks, Alaska

NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership) Wilderness Risk Managers Conference, October 1-3, 2014, Stone Mountain Park, Atlanta, Georgia

HeliCat Canada Fall Meeting 2014, September 27- 28, 2014, Banff, Alberta

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