A purple paint law would allow landowners to “post” their property with stripes of purple paint applied according to specific instructions on trees or fence posts.

Most states stipulate the stripes must be vertical and not less than 8 inches long and not less than an inch wide. They are to be placed no lower than 3 feet and no higher than 5 feet above the ground and must be readily visible to anyone approaching the property — no more than 100 feet apart in forested land and 1,000 feet apart in open land.

This system would allow a welcome alternative to the current yellow posted signs but would not replace the current system. Under a purple paint law, landowners could choose which method they want to use to protect their property. If a property were sold and the new owner wanted to allow access, the stripes could be painted over.

Posting with stripes that are permanent and do not have to be updated every year would be beneficial for many landowners who wish to prohibit hunting on their property.

The present posting regulations are arduous and challenging for many people for a variety of reasons. Signs made of metal or plastic are extremely expensive, especially for large properties or farms. The less-expensive Tyvek signs degrade over time and must be replaced. They are also easily damaged or removed, which may make property no longer legally posted.

Under the current system, every single sign must be dated annually and must include the name and address of the property owner. Landowners must file annually with their town clerk and pay a small fee. If these conditions are not met every year, your land is not posted legally. People can legally hunt without permission, in some cases at night, for most months of the year on unposted or improperly posted land.

I am 69 years old and have 30 acres surrounded by properties open to hunting and trapping. I have a herd of rescued equines, including five miniature horses about the same size and color as bears or deer. I enjoy walking on my property throughout the year with my dogs, which also resemble bears or deer in size and coloring. I especially enjoy the autumn months, hunting season, when the foliage is so beautiful.

To ensure the safety of my animals and myself, I do not want hunting or trapping on my property. Every year, I must walk the perimeter of my 30 acres and update my posted signs. Due to the regulations about placement, some signs must be in areas that are challenging to access.

This task is time consuming, but I worry about what will happen if I am unable to maintain the posted boundary of the land for which I pay hefty property taxes.

Of additional concern is that Vermont has a high rate of incidents of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. Forcing people to traipse through fields of high grass and shrubs — the perfect habitat for ticks — to post their property is unfair and unsafe.

Painting a stripe is clearly more economical, efficient, equitable and physically easier than the current posting system. People who are physically challenged due to age or disability would benefit from this law.

As an alternative option to the present posting regulations, the purple paint law would offer a fair and effective means of posting and protecting private property. If you agree with me and would like Vermont to join the 17 states that have already adopted this law, contact your state legislators and let them know you support the implementation of the purple paint law in Vermont.

Jennifer Lovett lives in Starksboro.

(1) comment


Thank you for bringing this new system of posting to my attention. I'd never heard of it and with 65 acres much of it brush and old trees, as well as fairly inaccessible borders, I feel similarly in that it's a really arduous task to post every year.

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