Ninety-five percent (95%) of the White Salmon watershed is classified as forestland, amounting to 236,963 of the total 250,459 acres. However, in addition to managed forestlands, this category includes oak thickets, grazed savannas, open south facing slopes, US Forest Service wilderness areas, rock outcrops, lava flows, and woody deciduous river bottoms. Forestland accounts for 88% of the land base of the lower White Salmon sub-basin. Forestland density is highest within the Buck Creek, upper White Salmon, and Trout Lake Creek sub-basins (98%, 95%, and 97% respectively).

Roughly one-half of the total acreage in the watershed is managed by the U.S. Forest Service Mount Adams Ranger District. Check out Friends of Mount Adams for information on Mount Adams headwaters of the White Salmon River.

Large timber company ownership is interspersed throughout the watershed, except for the Buck Creek sub-basin, which has no large timber ownership. The WA Department of Natural Resources ownership represents the third largest ownership class in the watershed. Department of Natural Resource land is dispersed relatively evenly among the sub-basins, although concentrated ownership exists in and surrounding Buck Creek sub-basin. Large (greater than 160 acres) and small (less than 160 acres) private ownership, combined, account for only 15% of the total watershed. The most significant large private ownerships occur in the Rattlesnake Creek, Gilmer Creek, and lower White Salmon sub-basins. The largest total small private ownership holdings are contained in the lower White Salmon and upper White Salmon sub-basins. (2003 WRIA 29 Report citing Stampfli, 1994)