Martino Talks Indiana’s New Purple Paint Law

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We’ve all seen them. Signs that read “No Trespassing,” “No Hunting,” or “Keep Out.” However, beginning July 1 these could become a thing of the past. Indiana now joins a dozen other states with the introduction of the new Purple Paint law.

Indiana law makers have now made it legal to post private property using another method: purple paint. House bill 1233, signed by Gov. Eric Holcomb includes a new provision allowing private property owners to keep people out by marking their property with vertical lines of purple pigment. Owners of private property can now legally mark their land by painting lines on trees and posts surrounding their land.

The laws author, Rep. Dave Wolkins said property owners will no longer have to spend time and money on building and maintaining fences or signs that may fade or be removed. Paint lasts for years and makes it much easier to mark boundaries.

“This is an efficient and simple way for landowners to keep trespassers out,” said Wolkins, the House Committee Chair of Environmental Affairs. It will also help minimize a property owners liability, prevent accidental trespassing and make it easier to prosecute those who enter private property without permission.”

The law states that purple marks on trees must be vertical lines at least eight inches long with the bottom of the line between three and five feet off the ground. Lines on trees must be less than 100 feet apart.

Lines on fence posts must cover at least the top two inches of the post and be three to five feet, six inches from the ground. If the paint marks are on posts or trees dividing two different properties them both landowners must agree to the use of the paint.

Arkansas was the first to implement such a measure. Property owners used this technique as a subtle way to remind visitors, most notably hunters, that they’re nearing a private area.

In 1997, Texas put the law into effect. One lawmaker told the news outlet that this would put an end to property owners having to replace their signs, which were often used for “target practice.”

But why the color purple? I have read where it was chosen because people who are color blind can see it. To them it will appear darker and more visible.

Several local landowners welcome the new law. Dayman Sommers, who resides in eastern Howard County believes it will be more effective and efficient when it comes to marking his property. “I like it because signs are kind of standoffish and a bit offensive,” he explained. “Although I don’t want people on my property without permission, I also think dozens of the bright orange signs detract from the beauty of our rural areas. Purple marks will be a little more subtle, easier to maintain and still get the message across.”

Western Howard County resident Paul Lanning likes the new law as well. “I have an area where some people like to dump discarded items like trash and sometimes even old furniture. I have put no trespassing signs up dozens of times but they constantly get vandalized or removed,” he explained. “But now I can mark trees and posts with purple paint and a little paint can go a long way.” Landowners can still use signs if they choose but many believe the new law will be just as effective and less expensive.

John Martino
Martino is a well-known outdoor writer throughout Indiana and has served as longtime outdoor columnist for the Kokomo Tribune newspaper. Martino has won numerous awards for both his writing and his service to youth, conservation and the community. He recently retired as Superintendent of Parks and Recreation for the City of Kokomo and now works as Ivy Tech Executive Director for Facilities for the Kokomo region.

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