Kachemak Bay in Homer, Alaska

About Tracey

Pile of Tracey's name tags from various conferences.

Tracey L. Knutson graduated from Montana State University with a B.S. in Sociology in 1983, and from the University of Minnesota Law School (J.D. granted by University of Montana) in 1989. Tracey served in the United States Peace Corps between her undergraduate and graduate training.

During and following law school Tracey worked in a couple of civil firms, honing her trial skills and focusing her practice towards the recreation industry. In 2000, Tracey began the firm of Knutson and Associates, and she has oriented the firm’s practice on recreation and adventure sports defense.

Tracey has a rich background of recreation and adventure company defense litigation, defending insurers, outdoor recreation and adventure sports entities, and a variety of other segments of the recreation world. She has tried numerous tort litigation style cases and regularly participates in appellate level practice which produces case law authority in recreation law. 

Tracey has written and defended legislation in several states that produced legislative (codified) authority in recreation law. In April 2007, Tracey was appointed by then Secretary of Transportation, Mary Peters, as a Representative on the Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC). The COMSTAC advises the Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Space Transportation and the US Congress on regulatory and safety issues in the emerging commercial human space transportation industry (declared an ‘adventure sport’ by Congress). Tracey sat on the Risk Management Working Group of COMSTAC for 2+ years, concluding her term in 2010. Tracey has an extensive history of charitable, community and volunteer-oriented activities; she held an elected position in Alaska’s ‘ski town’ (Girdwood/Mount Alyeska) on the Girdwood Board of Supervisors from 2003-2006. Annually, Tracey speaks at 3-5 national level conferences on legal and risk management issues in the adventure/recreation industry.  Team Member to Mission Astro Access – a group Advancing Disability Inclusion in Space. See, https://astroaccess.org. Tracey is a current member of the Association of Ski Defense Attorneys (‘ASDA’).

The depth and breadth of Tracey’s experience is fairly unparalleled in the recreation/adventure sport industry. 

At this point in her 30 year legal career, Tracey is one of the most recognized and respected recreation/adventure sport attorneys in the country. While many counsels (and other businesses) now recognize that recreation in all of its forms is thought to be 3rd GNP nationally and a huge economic driver, a couple of decades ago not many people (insurers, businesses, individuals) thought of the recreation world as so important. But even back then, Tracey focused her practice and career on the industry and has not only watched it grow, but has had a hand in its development and in creating the legal authorities that now govern the industry.

Representative Publications

  • CLE International (see, www.cle.com) Papers:
    • 2003 – A Defense Attorney’s Perspective on Defending Recreation and Adventure Claims, with Monty Barnett
    • 2004 – Litigation Issues: Lessons Learned in the Courtroom
    • 2005 – Litigation Issues
    • Participant Agreements and Protection from Claims: Release, Indemnity, Assumption of Risks, Dealing with Minors and Other Matters
    • 2006 – Program Policies and Practices – Putting Operations in the Legal Liability Context
  • State of Risk, Risk Management in the Outdoor Industry – a risk management training DVD for guides, outfitters, recreation educators and/or public land administrators; Produced by Knutson and Associates, Executive Producer Dirk Collins
  • “What is Informed Consent for Space-faring Passengers” Space News Commentary April 2007; www.space.com/spacenews/
  • Chapter on “Legal Issues in Expeditions,” with Kristin Larson, Esq., “Expedition Medicine” Edited by Drs. Gregory Bledsoe, Mike Manyak and David Townes; published 2007 by Cambridge University Press
  • University of Mississippi School of Law, Journal of Space Law, Volume 33 – 2007, “What is ‘Informed Consent’ for Space-Faring Passengers in the Soon-to-Launch Space Tourism Industry?” www.spacelaw.olemiss.edu
  • Chapter 7 – Legal Considerations in Outdoor Recreation, with Brent Wilson, “Outdoor Program Administration, Essentials for the Professional”edited by Mat Erpelding and Geoff Harrison, published 2012 by Human Kinetics
  • International Snow Science Workshop 2012 – Presented Paper – Mitigating Your (Legal) Risk as a Forecaster – Where are Your Own Liabilities/Risks/Tensions?
  • Chapter on Legal Issues, with Michael Curry, “Diploma in Mountain Medicine” to be published by Carreg Publishing, UK, 2013