In one section of a trail I was on yesterday a large number of trees had markings like the following:

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These are certainly not trail markings - the trail markers were entirely different (round plastic badges with writing).

The paint marks were varied (as shown) and were on trees somewhat deep into the woods from the trail.

Possibly unrelated, but I had read the area we were in is due to get some maintenance in the form of trail bridges / boardwalks being constructed. But I don't know if these tree markings specifically corresponded to that work.

This was located somewhat far off any road, within a NY State Forest.

1 Answer 1


These markings are for logging operations. The marks indicate that the trees should be removed. Note that there are also marks at the base, this is to help verify that the proper trees are removed.

The following are some work items and the primary and/or secondary colors used to mark each: Cut tree (blue/yellow), leave trees (orange/pink), wildlife reservation (white), cutting boundary (orange), cancel prior work (black), and property lines (red).


  • It says this is a "national paint marking scheme" - is it really a standard set of colors? Or does "national" refer to only lands managed by the US govt (and not, say, state or local lands)? Commented Sep 21, 2020 at 10:51
  • I believe that it is pretty standard, we spoke with a forestry ranger last year about the colors as well.
    – Schleis
    Commented Sep 21, 2020 at 13:48

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