It’s fall so many people are heading out on a walk or a hike to enjoy the crisp air and beautiful scenery. During this time of year, while outside, you’ll see many different colors around, from the reds, yellows and oranges of the leaves, to the deep blue of the sky, but if you see a fence post that’s painted purple, you’ll want to turn around and head in the direction you just came from.
If you’ve never seen one before, your first thought might be that the landowner is eccentric and likes to paint their property line in fun hues, but that’s not at all the case. The color actually has a very important meaning: No trespassing.
So why not just use a sign? Well with harsh winds, violent storms and rowdy teenagers, those signs can easily fall or be pulled down, but paint is much more permanent. In fact, in 16 states there are laws in place that state that purple painted posts and boundaries are equivalent to a “No Trespassing” sign.
The main reason some state governments enacted these Purple Paint Laws is to curtail unlawful hunting. The regulations let would-be hunters know that the activity is prohibited in that area. It’s an important issue since there are over 1,000 hunting accidents each year that injure or kill people. The purple posts help landowners keep their families, pets and animals safe. It’s so popular that there is a specific paint color used for it, aptly named “No Hunting Purple.”
The first Purple Paint Law was passed in Arkansas in 1987, with similar legislature following suit in Texas, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Maine, Florida, Idaho, Montana, Alabama, Arizona, Pennsylvania and Kansas. Many states at first required both signs and paint, but after some time, the local governments felt there was enough awareness of what the paint color meant and no longer required the signage as well.
Of course, there are still plenty of people who don’t understand the meaning of the purple posts, so it’s important for the safety of both landowners and potential accidental trespassers that word gets out about the significance of purple fence posts.