It’s Now The Law; Don’t Cross The Color Purple

by Curt Kovener

As of July 1, Indiana landowners have a new way to mark property for no trespassing— with purple paint. This is good news for those of us who dwell in the wilderness.
Owners of private property are now be able to exchange damaged or stolen “No Trespassing” signs for a line of purple paint with the Purple Paint Law. This is according to the House Enrolled Act 1233 which allows Hoosiers to mark their property and prohibit trespassing by marking vertical purple paint lines on trees or fence posts.
The idea is to have a quick and easy fix for property owners besides putting up the normal “No Trespassing” signs. There are requirements to how the purple line must be placed though.
If you paint a purple line on a tree, that is the same as saying no trespassing. So you no longer have to post no trespassing signs. But it has to be visible and a purple line.
Purple painting property owners need be aware that some spray paint will fade over time. If marking a tree, you are painting a living thing. With growth and weather, the color made fade or change. Tree marking paint specifically designed for the forest industry may be a better, longer term bet. The law does not specify what shade or purple—violet, lilac, fuschia, deep purple.
The law says that any purple mark must be a vertical line of at least 8 inches in length. For trees, the bottom of the mark needs to be at least 3 feet but not more than 5 feet from the ground. Marked trees may not be more than 100 feet from the nearest other marked tree.
Purple marks can also be on any fence post as long as the mark covers at least the top 2 inches of the post. For fence posts, the bottom of the mark needs to be at least 3 feet but not more than 5 feet and 6 inches from the ground. A marked post cannot be more than 36 feet from the nearest other marked post.
Instead of putting up a sign, which can get ripped down, shot or destroyed in some other way, lawmakers think that by painting a purple line everybody will understand.
But will color blindness be a credible defense by trespassers?
Perhaps for urban dwellers, a new purple color scheme will be decorating the neighborhood.