Each time while we would visit Texas, we’d navigate our way through ranch and farm lands in Hill Country admiring the huge property gates and beautiful rolling hills and meadows. We’d notice something quite peculiar we’ve not seen anywhere else.
Purple fence posts…
Although purple is kind of an artsy color, the purple fence posts aren’t meant to be an art deco kind of thing. The purple post markings actually mean something.
This establishment dates back to Arkansas’ law in 1989 with Texas and eight other states following suit eight years later in 1997 to alert people the division between private and public property.
Still in effect, the official law states that landowners had to put up a sign detailing what the purple paint signified in addition to painting the areas. Obviously, there was much confusion…why paint if signs are required?
In this case, the law became silly-stupid. The Texas Legislature pretty much sympathized with landowners who were having to constantly replace their No Trespassing signs because of vandalism. Trespassers would use the posted signs for target practice, so they came up with a colorful law.
The Law of the Land
According to Texas Penal Code…
The Texas Law is HB 793, under Texas Penal Code 30.05, Criminal Trespass, section 1, subsection D.
The law requires the following regarding the use of purple paint;
1. Markings must be:
b. At least 8” long
c. At least 1” wide
d. Bottom of mark should be between 3-5 feet above ground
2. Markings can be no more than 100 feet apart in timberland
3. Markings can be no more than 1,000 feet apart on open land
4. Markings must be in a place visible by those approaching the property.
Trespassing is a Class B misdemeanor in Texas, unless the intruder is carrying a firearm, which is a Class A misdemeanor.
So, now we know the meaning behind the purple fence posts. Now, landowners and ranchers don’t have to continuously replace costly signs. Oh, and ‘why purple’?? The color ‘purple’ was chosen because it is visible to people who are colorblind.
So, in the event that you’re traversing backroads and byways of Texas and you see purple fences or fence posts, as Bill Engvall would tell you…
HERE’S YOUR SIGN!