Purple paint on a tree means stay away

Driving or floating across Missouri, whether on a river or stream, highway, a blacktop or even a gravel road there seems to be purple paint on a lot of fence posts, and even trees.

What is the purple paint for? During its 1993 legislative session, the Missouri Legislature enacted a statute pertaining to trespassing. The Purple Paint Statute (RSMO 569.145) provides for Missouri landowners an alternative means of posting their property. Just like using no trespassing, no entry or keep out signs.

What does it mean? It means “KEEP OUT.”

Landowners can still use “No Trespassing” signs, however, the Purple Paint Statute allows landowners to mark trees or posts with purple paint as a warning to would-be trespassers.

Just like a “No Trespassing” sign or actual communication to individuals that no trespassing is allowed, the purple paint marks are considered to be adequate notice to the public that no trespassing is allowed on the property.

The statute provides that any person trespassing onto property marked by purple paint can be found guilty of a first-degree trespassing charge. Any unauthorized entry onto property marked with the purple paint mark is considered a trespass.


The statute allows for the charge of first-degree trespassing which is a Class B Misdemeanor, with potential punishment of a maximum $500 fine and/or a maximum of six months in jail.

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