Five counties and two Indian reservations touch Lake Roosevelt.

Moving clockwise and south from the northwest, there is Ferry County, Stevens County, the Spokane Indian Reservation, and Lincoln County. At Grand Coulee Dam there is the northeast corner of Grant County and (now heading north to complete the circle) the Colville Indian Reservation and Okanogan County.

In Ferry County, the land is heavily forested and relatively mountainous. In keeping with its character, timber and mining activities have been the backbone of the local economy for the past one hundred years. With layoffs at an area mine in 2002 and possible closure of a local lumber mill, natural resource industries are declining. This area is very thinly populated, with less than 4 persons per square mile.

In Stevens County, there is both forested areas and pasture land. Although rural, the area is more densely populated than Ferry County. There are lumber and pulp operations that stem from area timber activities, pasture land that supports alfalfa and ranching, and mining operations. In 2001, however, a magnesium smelter that was one of the counties largest employers closed. Recreation and tourism are also important to the local economy. Activities include a local ski area and access to waterways such as Lake Roosevelt. In addition, the Colville National Forest stretches across both Stevens and Ferry County.

The Spokane Indian Reservation lies to the south of Stevens County. The west side of the reservation borders Lake Roosevelt for eight miles. Its southern border is defined by the north bank of the Spokane River. Like Stevens County, it is primarily a mixture of forest and farmland. In addition to its natural resource economy, the Spokane’s Two Rivers Casino overlooks the lake. The Spokane’s also operate a second casino in Chewelah, which is located in Stevens County.

As the lake turns west, Lincoln County lies to the south. This is the northern end of the Palouse Hills, where the basalts of the Columbia Plateau are buried by wind-blown soils known as loess. Loess is a very fine and highly erosive soil that is also extremely productive, supporting some of the nation’s best dry land farming. Wheat and barley are the primary dry land crops in the area. In fact, Lincoln County is the second largest wheat producing county in the United States. In contrast to the northern part of the lake, this is big sky country with wide open spaces and rolling hills. As such, agriculture is the dominant natural resource industry with a rural population that is less dense than Stevens County. The planning department of Lincoln County notes, however, that about eighty percent of the counties growth over the next decade is expected to be in housing developments for retired people that include views of Lake Roosevelt.

Grant County just touches Lake Roosevelt around Grand Coulee. This is where the dam is and, with Banks Lake, represents the gateway to the irrigated croplands supported by the Columbia Basin Project.

Moving across the river and north is the Colville Indian Reservation and Okanogan County. The Colville Indian Reservation borders Lake Roosevelt for approximately ninety three river miles on its southern and eastern shorelines. With 1.4 million acres of forest, miles of lake front property, grasslands and abundant wildlife, the Colville's enjoy a rich and diverse set of natural resources. The Colville’s created the Colville Tribal Enterprises Corporation (CTEC) to develop a coordinated approach to business and industry activity. With over 1000 employees, CTEC has become one of Washington State’s largest 150 firms and the largest employer in the immediate area. CTEC’s enterprises include logging and lumber operations, Roosevelt Recreational Enterprises, and three casinos. Roosevelt Recreational Enterprises (RRE) rents houseboats to vacationers wishing to relax on Lake Roosevelt.