County: Color Purple A Warning for Hikers, Hunters

NORRISTOWN PA – “The Color Purple” is more than the title of a 1985 film directed by Steven Spielberg. In Pennsylvania, it’s become a short-hand way of saying “no trespassing,” a Montgomery County Planning Commission newsletter explained Thursday (Jan. 6, 2022).

Hikers, hunters, and property owners “should be aware” of the state’s Purple Paint Law, enacted during 2020, an article in the commission’s just published Winter 2021 “Stalk Talk” newsletter stated. The law gives those who own land the option of using painted purple markers, instead of more common “no trespassing” signs, to define their property boundaries and warn outsiders to stay away.

The signs were most often nailed to structures or trees. Under the law, property owners can effectively create the same warning by painting vertical purple lines on “tree trunks, fence posts, or other objects,” the newsletter reported. No additional wording is needed.

The lines must be clearly visible, though. The state requires them to be at least 8 inches long, at least 1 inch wide, no less than 3 feet from the ground and no more than 5 feet, and no more than 100 feet apart.

The law does provides for a single exception to the no-trespassing rule. It “authorizes unarmed persons to go onto private property for the sole purpose of retrieving a hunting dog.”

Hunters and trappers also can read about the Purple Paint Law in the 2021-2022 issue of the Game Commission’s “Pennsylvania Hunting and Trapping Digest.”

Graphic provided by the Pennsylvania Game Commission