What Is The Purple Paint Law?

What Is The Purple Paint Law?

 By Debi Metcalfe

Have you ever been traveling and seen bright purple paint on trees or on fences?

I saw several painted fence posts along a rural North Carolina road and wondered why the posts were purple. I looked it up.

Property owners often have difficulty keeping posted signs posted or undamaged. Using paint marks, in addition to signage, is a suitable and effective way of marking a property as posted that Is not only cost-efficient but also request little maintenance. 

As it turns out North Carolina is one of several states that have the purple paint law which serves as a no trespassing symbol against hunting, fishing, or trapping while letting you know you are on private property. Of course, a no trespassing sign should be used in North Carolina for other reasons not covered under the law.

Other states that have purple paint law in effect are as follows:



Although the laws in these states are similar, there are some variations by state.  In the state of Texas, for example, the purple paint law encompasses the full equivalent of a no trespassing sign. In Montana the paint is orange. 

I wondered if there were rules on how to paint the post since the ones I saw were evenly painted. The answer is, yes. 

In North Carolina, Statue G.S. 14-159.7, states that a lessee of the property may place identifying purple paint marks on trees or posts around the area to be posted. Each paint mark shall be a vertical line of at least eight inches in length, and the bottom of the mark shall be no less than three feet nor more than five feet from the base of the tree or post.

Also, the paint marks shall be placed no more than 100 yards apart and shall be readily visible to any person approaching the property. For the purpose of prohibiting fishing, or the taking of fish by any means, in any stream, lake, or pond, it shall only be necessary that the paint marks be placed along the stream or shoreline of a pond or lake at intervals of not more than 100 yards apart.

When you see purple paint on a post, trees, or fences you now know that the paint serves a very good purpose in protecting your property.  

It’s time to go out and buy some purple paint and start painting!
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