Have you been seeing purple trees and purple posts around your neighborhood?
Want to know what they mean? You're not going to believe this! It’s not the new fall decoration fad — they have some special meanings.
Way back, former Governor Quinn signed into immediate law "Public Act 97-0477" (on August 22, 2011), which is being called the "Purple Paint Law," and it seems to be gaining popularity with property owners.
This gives property owners the option of painting their trees purple or using purple-topped posts in lieu of no-trespassing signs, with some reservations and further regulations.
No trespassing and other regulatory signs seem to disappear or get shot full of holes regularly so maybe the purple paint regulations will help this. There are some additional stipulations on this subject so be sure to visit the DNR sites and read them thoroughly.
But, being a skeptic, I have some reservations about this idea.
I wonder if some politicians nephew just happens to own a paint factory with an over-abundance of purple paint? And just how many shades of purple are there? Do all shades count or just a particular one?
Some of the purple posts I’ve been seeing are very well marked and the paint shows up very well. Others are not as noticeable and the vegetation hides them rather well. What if the potential trespasser is color blind? What about your barn? Can you paint it purple instead of putting a sign on it? Would you really want to?
I think I'll paint my truck purple since I don't lock up much. That way it's "no-trespassing" marked!
Do they really think trespassers will pay any more attention to the purple trees, etc., than they do to signs?
Provisions of the new law require that the purple paint marks used to designate "no trespassing" must be either: 1. A vertical line of at least eight inches in length. The bottom of the mark shall be between three and five feet high. Each mark shall be no more than 100 feet from another such mark and be readily visible to any person approaching the property. Or, 2. A post capped or otherwise marked on at least its top two inches. The bottom of the cap or mark shall be between three and 5-feet-6 inches high. Posts must be no more than 36 feet apart and also be readily visible, etc. If a cap is visible from both sides of the fence, both owners must agree.
There are also some other qualifications and descriptions concerning the classification of the possible transgression. See the DNR website for additional info.
Although this went into effect immediately, owners still had to use signs for a while. Until January 1, 2013, landowners using purple marks had to continue to issue a "no trespassing" notice either by oral or written notice to individuals, or by posting appropriate signage at the main entrance to the property.
With hunting season in progress, hunters need to again be advised of the rights and requirements of property owners. Private property is still "private" until you have permission to be there. What ever happened to the concept that: You need permission before you enter another persons property?
I saw a sign once that said: Trespassers will be shot — Survivors will be shot again! I'll bet this got more attention than PURPLE PAINT! Unfortunately, ammunition got too expensive to waste on additional or warning shots.
I also wonder what color we could paint up our country sides to stop the dumping of old appliances and trash all over. Maybe pink? That's an attractive color! Some people seem to think that the rural ground will simply open up and swallow up their trash. Not the case!
Both the local farmers and the township employees have to use their resources, incurring considerable costs in efforts and wages to clean up after these unsympathetic slobs. Similar to the trespassers, these people pay little attention to signs or pretty paint.
The root of these problems are a lack of respect, and until that level of respect is re-established or the possible consequences of the transgressions are increased and enforced, neither problem will disappear. Since these transgressors don't seem to be able to read, I wonder how they are to know the significance and meaning of our painting efforts. Just more skeptical wondering!
Dave Shadow is a national fishing champion and outdoor columnist. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org