Purple Paint Law
By angelamontana

Posted: August 11, 2021

Did you know there is a purple paint law?  If you see purple paint on a fence or randomly in the woods, it does have a meaning.  You should also know the law regarding the paint if you are in any of the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.  Purple paint means “no trespassing”.

So, why choose purple?  Here’s some info from bobvila.com:

Using signage that’s more suited to city surroundings, some woodland property owners choose to nail metal, plastic, or even cardboard signs directly to a fence post or tree. This way of marking land isn’t foolproof, though. No matter how durable they seem, such placards fall victim to the elements: Printing can fade, cardboard disintegrates, and metal rusts. “No trespassing” signs are also vulnerable to vandals who might tear down, deface, or simply steal them.

As well, affixing a board to a fence is one thing; putting a nail into the nearest oak is quite another. Breaching its bark to insert a screw or nail won’t necessarily kill a tree, but it’s still not ideal. Paint is a better choice all around.

Why purple paint, though? For starters, this hue is highly visible outdoors. Purple is also easy to differentiate from other shades, even for people who are otherwise color-blind.

As of now, Montana doesn’t have a purple paint law, but it does have the following law that includes orange paint:

To provide for effective posting of private land through which the public has no right-of-way, the notice provided for in subsection (1) must satisfy the following requirements:
(a) notice must be placed on a post, structure, or natural object by marking it with written notice or with not less than 50 square inches of fluorescent orange paint, except that when metal fenceposts are used, the entire post must be painted; and
(b) the notice described in subsection (2)(a) must be placed at each outer gate and normal point of access to the property, including both sides of a water body crossing the property wherever the water body intersects an outer boundary line.

It is just something to think about the next time you are out and about and see purple paint somewhere…or orange paint in Montana or anywhere.  Even if you aren’t in any of the states listed above, it is always a good idea to be aware of your surroundings.